Fatwa n°: 221
Category: Fatwas of fasting
The ruling concerning making up the missed days of Ramadan
for an excused dead person
A sick girl did not fast two consecutive months of Ramadan, and could not compensate them because of her illness in which she died. What should her family do?
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
If someone dies and has the fast of Ramadan in debt, his guardians must feed a poor for each day not fasted by a half of a Sâ` (a Sâ` is equals nearly 8 handfuls). It is not permissible to fast instead of him, because the obligation of fasting is as the same as prayer. As we do not pray instead of someone, we do not fast instead of him, as long as the person has not fasting in debt as the fasting of Nadhr (vow), if someone of his family makes up for him his missed days of fast as in the hadith reported by `Aisha رضي الله عنها that the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: “Whoever died and he ought to have fasted then his guardian must fast on his behalf”(1). Even though this hadith is absolute, it is understood as meaning the fasting of Nadhr, since Nadhr is a pledge that one has to keep. It has the status of a debt. So the compensation (for the missed days) by the guardian (of the dead person) is accepted as when he compensates for him his debt. It is the view of `Aisha and Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهم. It is narrated that it is the view of Sa`îd Ibn Jubayr and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal رحمهما الله, it is also the view of Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya(2), this view is supported by these two following hadiths:
- The hadith of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما. He said: a man came to the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم and said: O Allah’s Apostle! My mother died and she ought to have fasted one month. Shall I fast on her behalf?” The Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم replied: “If your mother had debts, would you have paid it?” he replied in the affirmative. The Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: “Allah’s debts are more entitled to be paid.”(3).
Ibn `Abbâs reported also that Sa`d Ibn `Ubâda رضي الله عنه asked the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم by saying: My mother died and had in debt a Nadhr of fasting” he صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم then said: “Compensate it for her”(4).
According to these hadiths, the fast of Nadhr for a dead person is valid. The absoluteness of fasting remains included by the saying of Ibn `Umar رضي الله عنهما: “None should fast on behalf of someone else”(5).
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
(1) Reported by Al-Bukhâri in the chapter of “Fast” (hadith 1952), Muslim in the chapter of “Fast” (hadith 2748), Abu Dâwûd in the chapter of “Fast” (hadith 2402), Ad-Dâraqutni in his “Sunan” (hadith 2359) and Al-Bayhaqi (hadith 8481) fromt he hadith of `Aisha رضي الله عنها.
(2) In “I`lâm Al-Muwaqqi`în (4/382) and in “Tahdhîb As-Sunan” (7/38).
(3) Reported by Al-Bukhâri in the chapter of “fasting” (hadith 1953), Muslim in the chapter of “Fast”, (hadith 2750), from the hadith of Ibn `Abbas رضي الله عنهما.
(4) Reported by Al-Bukhâri in the chapter of “Wills” (hadith 2761), Muslim in the chapter of “Vows” (hadith 4323), Abu Dâwûd in the chapter of “Oaths and Vows” (hadith 3309), At-Tirmidhi in the chapter of “Oaths and Vows” and An-Nassâ'i from the hadith of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما.
(5) Reported by Mâlik in Al-Muwatta' (hadith 676), Al-Bayhaqi (hadith 8475). It is authenticated by Al-Albâni in Al-Mishkât (hadith 1977), see “Nasb Ar-Râya” of Az-Zayla`i (2/209) and “At-Talkhîs Al-Habîr” of Ibn Hajar (2/209).