Permissible for Reverts to Not Fast to Appease Parents?

29 April, 2021
Q Alsalamou alaykom. I am a 16 year old girl, I recently reverted in secret (my parents are Christian) to Islamic religion. It's been hard to hide everything from them (praying, fasting). But lately I am getting a lot into fight with my parents they are so controlling and don't give me my freedom And this limit what I can do (they still don't know that I am Muslim, if they knew they will either kill me, or kick me out the house (they don't love Islam). I am losing a lot of weight because I am not able to eat correctly in the iftar (I am making food in secret and cannot let them notice that). What should I do?


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:

You are allowed to break your fast if you fear persecution or do not feel safe to fast because of the hatred of your parents. Once you are on your own, you should make up for the fast you missed.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

I commend you for choosing Islam and your zeal to learn and practice your chosen faith. I pray to God to grant you patience and strength.

Let me come to your question:

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is obligatory on every adult Muslim except those who are sick, traveling or in case of women while menstruating or undergoing a post-natal period of bleeding.

Therefore, as an adult, you ought to fast. If you fear the persecution of your parents you should consider whether you can do so out of their sight, independently.

If that is not possible and you fear extreme persecution, then you are allowed to break it as long as this condition remains.

However, once you can stand on your own feet, and live independently of your parents, or they soften their hostility towards Islam, then you ought to resume the fast and make the fasts you missed in the past.

In Islam, legal accountability (otherwise known as taklif in Islam) is based on one’s ability and freedom to choose.

God is Wise, Compassionate, and all-Knowing; in so far as He enjoins duties on His servants He does so by taking into account their ability, means, and circumstances to carry out His orders.

In other words, God’s orders are always wise and do not impose any undue hardship on His servants; and when and where there is hardship the rigors of the law are relaxed, accordingly.

One of the principles reiterated throughout in the Quran is that Allah does not burden any soul beyond its own ability to endure. Here are some verses stating this fact:

{Those who repudiate God after having had faith – except one who is compelled, while his heart rests securely in faith – that is whoever open their chest to disbelief, upon them is the wrath of God and a grievous torment awaits them. That is because they preferred the life of the world to the hereafter; and because God does not guide the people who refuse.} (An-Nahl 16:106-107)

The exception made in the above verse, ‘except one who is compelled, while his heart rests securely in faith,’ clearly absolves those who denounce faith outwardly while believing in their hearts.

If the above applies to denouncing faith, then it should definitely to who are compelled to break the obligatory fast or other violations as well.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) therefore states that there is no accountability on those who are forced to do certain things.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “My community is absolved of sin for the deeds they commit because of a slip-up, forgetfulness or under duress.” (Ibn Hazm and others)

Furthermore, we read in another verse:

{God does not compel a soul to do what is beyond its ability. One gets
what one has earned and is responsible for what one deserves.}

And the verse then continues to remind us to pray:

{Our Lord, do not charge us with a burden like that You laid upon those before us, our Lord, and do not impose on us what we cannot bear. And pardon us. And forgive us. And have mercy on us. You are our Protector, so help us against those who reject faith.} (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

In light of these, you are allowed to break your fast if you fear persecution or do not feel safe to fast because of the hatred of your parents. Once you are on your own, you should make up for the fast you missed.

In the meantime, you should pray to God to open the hearts of your parents to see the light of truth and accept Islam or at least soften their hearts to allow your choices in life, and thus tone down their hatred towards Islam.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.