Answered by Dar Al-Ifta Al-Masriyah (The Egyptian House of Fatwa)
Is it permissible for a student to break his fast in Ramadan so he/she can study during his her exams?
We must distinguish between a student who can study with some difficulty, and between one who cannot study at all because of fasting. We must also distinguish between one who is financially supported by someone else, and between another who supports himself/herself or his/her dependents, such that failing his/her exams will affect his/her work which is indispensable for his/her livelihood and that of his/her dependents.
It is permissible for a student, who is legally responsible and for whom there is an overwhelming need to study during the month of Ramadan, to break his/her/she fast if he finds through experience or symptoms that fasting will cause him to fail his exams due to physical weakness or an inability to continue his/her studies which are necessary for his/her livelihood and basic expenses and those of his dependents. This is the preponderant opinion of Ibn ‘Abdin and others who maintain that it is permissible for bakers and others working in strenuous crafts to break their fast. These students must then make up the fast they have broken due to this necessity or need, the permissibility of which will cease once these extenuating circumstances are over.
One must note that this fatwa is applicable only when there is an overwhelming necessity. A necessity is measured according to its extent, and [in this case], it is contingent upon the following:
– Whether the student’s studies are necessary during Ramadan or whether they can be postponed.
– Whether the student thinks that he will fail his exams if he does not study.
– Whether failing his exams will prevent the student from continuing his studies without which he cannot work or meet his needs and those of his dependents.
Fasting becomes obligatory when any of these conditions is absent.
Allah Almighty knows best.