Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. So, a Muslim cannot be exempted from it except under considerable reasons stated by Shari`ah laws, such as long travels, illness, etc.
2- As for your brother’s case, it is not considered an acceptable excuse to break the fast for P.E. (physical education) lessons, as most of Muslim students and workers may have severe work and they never tend to neglect the obligatory fast.
3- The reward for any act of worship is granted according to the efforts exerted in performing it; the more efforts one exerts, the greater rewards he will gain.
Answering your question, Sheikh Kifah Mustapha, the Imam and Director of The Prayer Center of Orland Park and representative for Dar El Fatwa of Lebanon in the US, states:
First, missing fasting for such reason is not acceptable at all. I know all Muslim students in public schools and private Islamic ones do fast even with physical education. Your brother should repent to Allah and never come to that again.
Second, he should make up for all days that he missed and again ask Allah for forgiveness.
I know most US schools now do recognize Ramadan and with a letter signed by a local mosque many students can be exempted from some activities at school if that was a concern.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.