Question: In the month of Ramadan some people eat publicly, saying, "What is known by Allah cannot be concealed from His slaves." Is it not sinful?
It is not permissible to commit a sin publicly or secretly. If one has committed a sinful action by giving in to the temptation of the nafs and the Devil, one must conceal this sin. Concealing a sin is beneficial in several respects:
1. If our sins have not been disclosed, we should rejoice over it. Allahu ta'ala declares, "Conceal a sin." And our master the Prophet declared:
(If a person conceals his sin in the world, Allahu ta'ala will conceal this sin from His slaves on the Last Judgment.) [Muslim]
2. Allahu ta'ala's dislike for those who commit sins openly and flagrantly is much more. On the other hand, He may forgive those who feel sorry for their sins and who do not disclose them, simply because they conceal their sins. It was declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(Let him who has committed a sin conceal his sin. Let him keep Allahu ta'ala's cover over it.) [Muslim]
3. When committing sins, we should at least be ashamed of the public. We must not let our sins become known lest others should talk about us and backbite us. It was stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(Haya [bashfulness] is altogether good.) [Bukhari]
(Haya is from faith.) [Bukhari]
(Whoever is without haya is without religion. And the one without haya cannot enter Paradise.) [Daylami]
4. We must conceal our sins lest we should set a bad example and encourage others to commit sins. For such reasons, we must not sin openly or secretly because sins are deadly poisons. A person with faith is very much afraid of committing a sin. A hadith-i sharif says:
(A Believer sees his sin as a mountain and is afraid that it may fall on him. A hypocrite, on the other hand, sees his sin as a fly that has landed on his nose and will fly right away.) [Bukhari]
Question: It is written in the book İslam Ahlakı:
"A person who eats and drinks in Ramadan openly without a good excuse becomes a renegade" (Fayziyya).
It is written in the book Endless Bliss:
"Those who purposely do not observe the fast and eat in the presence of Muslims at public places and those who mislead fasting people and prevent their fast will lose their iman (for doing so)."
We cannot understand these two statements. Does a person who eats openly in Ramadan become a disbeliever?
No, a person who commits a grave sin cannot be called a disbeliever. What is declared to be disbelief therein is to regard the commandment of fasting as unimportant and to encourage by implication others not to fast. The case is the same with every fard. For example, if a woman who goes out without covering herself according to Islamic dress code knows that covering oneself is Allah's commandment, believes in it, and approves of it, she cannot be called a disbeliever. If she does not accept that covering oneself is Allah's command or if she, though accepting it, does not approve of it and does not feel sorry for going out uncovered, this will cause her to become a disbeliever.
Question: I am ill and in the hospital. It is not possible for me to fast. I cannot eat and drink secretly in the hospital. Is it sinful for me to eat openly in Ramadan?
It is obvious that you are ill. That is, people know and see this fact. Therefore, it is permissible for you to eat and drink openly if it is not possible to conceal it.