Believers! Fasting is enjoined upon you, as it was enjoined upon those before you, that you become God-fearing (Surah Baqarah: 183).

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and hence it is obligatory for every Muslim all over the world. Naturally, there are certain repercussions for those who –for one reason or another – are unable to fast during Ramadan. Our religion has always taken care of the different conditions a Muslim can be involved in, which might lead him to miss out on his obligations and rights towards the Almighty Allah. Hence, it has also paved the way to make up for those times. In the case of the Saum i.e. Fast, there are two kinds of compensations that a Muslim can make; fidyah and kaffarah.

A Muslim has to pay fidyah for the number of fasts that he misses out of sheer necessity for instance when a woman is pregnant or if someone is sick. A kaffarah, on the other hand, is to be paid when a Muslim misses out on his fasting due to something trivial or unnecessary: a Muslim has to pay kaffarah when he deliberately breaks or misses his saum.

According to the Quran:

Fasting is for a fixed number of days, and if one of you be sick, or if one of you be on a journey, you will fast the same number of other days later on. For those who are capable of fasting (but still do not fast) there is a redemption: feeding a needy man for each day missed. Whoever voluntarily does more good than is required, will find it better for him; and that you should fast is better for you, if you only know (Surah Baqarah: 184).

For different situations, there is a certain kaffarah or fidyah that needs to be paid.

Kaffarah for Qadha fast

Qadha fast is the saum you missed in the last Ramadan. To make up for this, a Muslims has to feed a poor person for each missed fast and he is also obliged to keep the Qadha fast.

Kaffarah for intentionally breaking a fast

Upon breaking the fast intentionally, one has to fast for sixty consecutive days or feed sixty, distinct needy individuals. This applies to all days where a fast was broken intentionally. The food must consist of at least 75o grams of wheat, rice or dates.

Kaffarah can also be paid in the form of money. The only condition, however, is that the amount of money should only be used to buy food for the needy and deserving.

Kaffarah for engaging in a sexual act while fasting

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ata ibn Abdullah al-Khurasani that Said ibn al-Musayyab said:

“A bedouin came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), beating his breast and tearing out his hair and saying, “I am destroyed.” The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said, “Why is that?”, and he said, “I had intercourse with my wife while fasting in Ramadan.” The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), asked him, “Are you able to free a slave?”, and the man said, “No.” Then he asked him, “Are you able to give away a camel?”, and the man replied, “No.” He said, “Sit down,” and someone brought a large basket of dates to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and he said to the man, “Take this and give it away as sadaqa.” The man said, “There is no one more needy than me,” and (the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH)), said, “Eat them, and fast one day for the day when you had intercourse.” (Imam Malik's Muwatta 18:29)

Fidyah for being unable to fast

For each missed fast, a Muslim is supposed to feed one poor person. The fidyah can be given to the same person each day.

Whether you break your fast out of necessity or you do it through a deliberate mistake, there is a remedy for it. Just be aware of the wrong you have done and pay the appropriate Kaffarah so that Allah Almighty may be able to forgive you for your sins.

The author

Omam Khalid