Allah the Almighty has enjoined upon the Muslims fasting the month of Ramadan, and He has promised a great reward to those who fast. Because the virtue of fasting is so great, Allah has not specified the reward for it, rather He said – in a sacred hadith (i.e., hadith Qudsi)– “Fasting is for Me, and I shall reward for it.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) The virtues of the month of Ramadan are so many. Allah promised those who perform proper fasting to forgive their sins. The Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and seeking Allah’s reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.’” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari) In light of these Hadiths and merits of fasting, one should be earnestly keen to fast even if it causes them much exhaustion and weariness.

Concerning this topic, the scholars mention certain excuses for which fasting may be avoiding . Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, states:

Concerning the legal excuses that allow one not to observe the fasting of Ramadan, Allah, Exalted be He, says: “And whoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days; He desires not hardship for you.” (Al-Baqarah: 185) Sickness (referred to in this verse) that is considered a legal excuse for not observing the fast of Ramadan is that which occurs, becomes urgent, or is aggravated, as a result of fasting.

The same ruling applies to one whose work requires hard labor, so that he cannot observe fast during his work hours, and, at the same time, he has no other means to earn his living. For instance, a baker who works in the daytime where it is so hot that fasting becomes unbearable.

However, one must bear in mind that legal excuses – such as illness and hard labor – must be actually found, and not just imagined or expected.”

From the aforementioned, it is clear that grief or tiredness is not included in the legal excuses to avoid fasting. Allah, Exalted be He, ordered people to exercise patience in cases of calamities and to seek the help in this regard by means of prayer and other acts of worship. So, excuses like weakness of body or tiredness as a result of an examination, death of  a close relative or calamity etc. are not valid excuses to break fast. In fact, one who finds him or her self in this situation should remain calm and be patient for that is rewarding.

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When a person’s child dies, Allah says to His angels, ‘You have taken the child of My slave.’ They say, ‘Yes.’ He says, ‘You have taken the apple of his eye.’ They say, ‘Yes.’ He says, ‘What did My slave say?’ They say, ‘He praised You and said “Inna lillah wa inna ilayhi raji`un (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return).’ Allah then says, ‘Build for My slave a house in Paradise and call it the house of praise.’” (Related by Al-Tirmidhi).

As for a Muslim who broke his fast or did not fast due to some of those invalid reasons, he should repent to Allah as seek forgiveness from breaking his fasting. Asides, he should make up for missed fasts and never repeat that sinful act again.

It should be noted that not every kind of tiredness or hardship is regarded as an excuse which makes it permissible not to fast in Ramadan. In most cases, fasting causes bearable tiredness and hardship, but this is not an excuse to avoid fasting. In fact, for tiredness to be an excuse for breaking fast, it must be so great that a person fears death or sickness if he or she fasts in that situation; and in this case it takes the ruling of sickness which the Sharia considers a valid excuse for breaking fast or not fasting.

May Allah guide us to what pleases Him