Fatwa: 202

Category: fatwas about fasting

The ruling concerning not observing fasting in Ramadan due to an excuse with inability to pay Al-Fidya(1)

The question:

There is a single woman living in a very poor family. She has a serious disease that allows her not to observe fasting during Ramadan, and she cannot pay Al-Fidya. So, what is the ruling regarding her. Thank you, and may Allah reward you.

The answer:

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 the disease that affected this woman is temporary, she should fast later, because Allah عزَّ وجلَّ says:

﴿فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ﴾ [البقرة: 184].

The meaning of the verse:

…but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days﴿ [Al-Baqara (The Cow): 184].

However, if her disease is chronic, then she should pay Al-Fidya for every non-fasted day. She should give it to the poor. The amount of Al-Fidya is half Sâ`(2) of wheat, which is the equivalent of one kilogram of semolina.

If she could not pay Al-Fidya, and someone else takes care of paying it on behalf of her by feeding the poor, it would be valid. In fact, representation in terms of money is allowed.

If she could not find someone to pay Al-Fidya on behalf of her, the obligation of paying it persists until she becomes able to do it.

If she dies without being able to pay Al-Fidya, she will not be sinful, because Allah عزَّ وجلَّ says:

﴿لا يُكَلِّفُ اللهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا﴾ [البقرة: 286].

The meaning of the verse:

Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope﴿ [Al-Baqara (The Cow): 286].

He says also:

﴿لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ مَا آتَاهَا﴾ [الطلاق: 7].

The meaning of the verse:

Allâh puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him﴿ [At-Tahrîm (The Interdiction): 7].

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, Ramadhân 4th, 1424 H.
Corresponding to: October 11th, 2003.

(1) Al-Fidya: feed a poor person for each day not fasted.

(2) Sâ`: a volume unit of measurement equivalent to about 2,75 liters (2000 grams of semolina), translator’s note.

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