Ask the Vizier - Can I Fast and Still Pilot an Airplane?

I am often asked difficult questions by my Muslim readers that can best be answered when I take on the persona of the Grand Vizier.

Today the following query was posed:

Q: I am an airline pilot with more than 20 years of experience but firstly I am a Muslim. Is it Okay if, during Ramadhan, that I fast while piloting a plane?

A: Praise be to Allaah:

There are two ways to answer this question:

If speaking to infidels, tell them that when we Muslims travel, we do not have to observe the fasting of Ramadhan and that we may fulfill this obligation at a later time. And certainly it is too dangerous to fast and pilot an airplane.

But among ourselves let me say that the true answer depends on who the passengers are. If the plane is filled with fellow Muslims then do not fast for fear of causing undue deaths - however if filled mostly with infidels then fast away. Should you become disoriented, misjudge the landing strip and crash then Allah's reward is yours and Paradise is your hangar.

both pilots asleep
Photo Credit: Fly Away Simulation
This is a real life question discussed by a Muslim pilot here. His response was that if the flight is not too long he would fast, but if his co-pilot thinks that he's losing mental capacity then he would break his fast. Yeah, suppose both pilot and co-pilot don't have enough energy to stay awake from fasting?

Ramadhan is one reason that I never fly on any plane piloted by Muslims or where any of the crew are Muslim.

This has been question number 9 in my series Ask the Vizier (℠):

The Grand Vizier
Photo Credit: Anno 1404 Wiki


The Vizier answers issues pertaining to Shariah which comes down directly from Allâh. These questions and answers are placed in public view on Planck's Constant for educational purposes. Many of these answers are unique to a particular situation and cannot be taken as a basis for a ruling in another situation. Ask the Vizier (℠) bears no responsibility with regards to these questions being used out of their intended context or to any party who may or may not act on this answer. The Vizier is hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.

This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of the Vizier.

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