بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Q: A man has intercourse with his wife during the daytime in Ramadan without ejaculating, and he thinks that the expiation pertains to the one who does, even though he knows that intercourse along with an ejaculation necessitates expiation, he does not know that intercourse without an ejaculation is prohibited (what’s the ruling)?
A: If this was his understanding then there is nothing upon him, nor does he make up the day due to the Exalted’s statement:
…ربّنا لا تُؤاخذنا إن نسينا أو أخطأْنا…
“…Our Lord do not hold us to account when we forget or make a mistake…” [Al-Baqarah: 286]
Translated by Najeeb Ibn Yusuf
Source: فتاوى في أحكام الصيام
The absence of sin for one who makes a mistake is derived from the Quran and Sunnah, as Sheikh Al Uthaymin cited a clear text from the Quran, likewise we have the Prophet’s -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- statement: “Surely Allah has overlooked, for me, my nation when they make mistakes, forget, or are compelled to do something.“
Sheikh Saalih Alish-Sheikh said, “a mistake is to desire something, but acquire other than it without aspiring that.” [شرح الأربعين النووية]
An example of this is found in the narration of Anas ibn Malik wherein Allah’s Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- said: “Indeed Allah is extremely overjoyed at the repentance of His servant when he repents to Him, than anyone of you who is on his riding beast in the desert. Then his riding beast slips away from him and (carried) on it is his food and drink. Thus he falls into despair (as it relates to his riding beast). Then he goes to a tree and lays in its shade having despair from (finding) his riding beast. While he is in that state he founds it standing with him, so he seizes it by its reins and he says, out of extreme happiness, “O Allah! you are my slave and I am your lord.” He made a mistake due to extreme happiness.” Collected by Bukhari (in summarized version) and Muslim.
Sheikh Al Uthaymin said, while commenting on this narration, “A man was in the desert and there was no one around him. No water, no food, and no people. He loses his camel, meaning it wanders off. This causes him to call out for it but can not find it. As a result he goes to a tree and sleeps under it, as he awaits death. Surely he fell into despair with regards to his camel and to life, because his provision were on the camel and it wandered off. So while he was like this, behold his camel was there with him, its reins hanging on the tree in which he slept under. So with what object can be used to evaluate this happiness? Happiness due to life after death.
As a result he seized the reins and said, “O Allah you are my slave and I am your lord.” He wanted to praise Allah by saying Allah you are my Lord and I am your slave, however due to his extreme happiness he made a mistake, hence he changed the wording.“ [شرح رياض الصالحين]
This is an excellent example of a person who desired one thing but acquired something else that he did not aspire after.
Al Uthaymin also said, “in it (the narration) is evidence that a man when he makes a mistake in a statement, even if it’s disbelief that his tongue puts forth, he is not held accountable as a result of it. As this man said a statement of disbelief. The man’s statement to his Lord, ‘you are my slave and I am your lord’ this is disbelief without doubt, however this emanated from him mistakenly due to extreme happiness and so he is not taken to account for it.
And likewise other than it from speech. If someone insults another mistakenly, without intending such; or divorces his wife mistakenly, without intending such; or manumits an indentured servant mistakenly, without intending such, then nothing results from this because a person did not intend it…” [شرح رياض الصالحين]
A mistake can also occur due to one’s ignorance. An individual may either be totally unaware of an issue, or misunderstand an issue. An example of this is found in the narration of Adi ibn Hatim, concerning the revealing of the following verse:
و كُلُوا واشْرَبُوا حتَّى يتبيَّن لكم الخَيط الأبيض من الخيط الأسود من الفجر
“…and eat and drink until the white thread (of day) is made clear from the black thread (of night) from the dawn…” [Al-Baqarah: 187]
Adi said, “O Messenger! indeed I have placed under my pillow two cords. One white and one black, so that I may know the night from the day. The Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- said: “Indeed your pillow is expansive, as it is only (intended in the verse) the black of night and the white of day.” Collected by Bukhari and Muslim.
Imam An Nawawi quotes Al Qaadhi Iyyaadh’s statement, “The intent is that it was understood and done by those who were not among the Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa salaam-. On the contrary he was among the Bedouins and those who had no comprehension with them. Or there was not in their language the usage of the word ‘thread’ for the night and day…” [شرح صحيح مسلم]
Even with this mistake made, we find no command from the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- to make up those days, as he made a mistake desiring Allah’s obedience but he acquired something he did not aspire after due to his misunderstanding of the text, and Allah knows best.