Making Up for Missed Fast (Qaza)

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is obligatory for every adult with only a few exceptions. These missed fast (Qaza) are to be make up on other days after Ramadan to complete the number and blessings of fasting. Allah says in Quran:

O, believers! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was for those before you, so perhaps you will become mindful of Allah.

Surat Al-Baqarah, verse 183

Fasting in the whole month of Ramadan is compulsory. It’s the third pillar of Islam and without valid reasons, no one can break or miss fast. But if someone misses fasting in this holy month then completing the missing number of fasts on other days is compulsory.

Every Muslim must learn legal rulings of Islam or ahkam about missing days of fasting in Ramadan. This is something important most of us must manage at one time or another. Some people may miss fast for valid reasons and some do it deliberately. Islamic rulings for both are different. Firstly we discuss two categories of people with valid excuses for not fasting a day of Ramadan.

1-Making up missed fast (Qaza)

Those people who miss fast(s) in Ramadan for valid temporary reasons, like sickness, travelling, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or women during periods. They must have to fast days after Ramadan in place of the ones they missed fast (qaza). Those will fast when they reach normal health or complete travelling. They have to fast because their issues are temporary. Moreover, they and have can fast on other days. They are not obligated to pay a redemption fee ( fidyah). Allah guides us in Quran as:

The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qurān was revealed as guidance for mankind and as clear signs that show the right way and differentiate between right and wrong. So those of you who observe the month must fast in it. But the one who is ill, or is on a journey (must fast) as much from other days (fast he missed). Allah intends ease for you and does not intend (to create) hardship for you. All this is so that you may complete the number (of missed fast (qaza)) and proclaim the Takbīr of Allah for having guided you, and (so) that you may be grateful. 

Quran 2:185

Hazrat Aisha narrated :

Hamza bin `Amr Al-Aslami once asked the Prophet(ﷺ), “Should I fast while travelling?” The Prophet (ﷺ) answered, “You may or may not fast if you wish.” 

Sahih al-Bukhari 1943

Hazrat ‘Aisha(RA) said that when she had to make up some part of the fast of Ramadan, she would be able to do so only in Shaban. Yahya Sa’id explained she meant this was due to her being kept from it by her duty to the Prophet(ﷺ).

Mishkat al-Masabih 2030

In Pregnancy, breastfeeding and menses, in terms of hardships, conditions for women are analogous to that of one who is ill. it is also reported from Ibn ‘Abbas who said to his wife, she was either pregnant or breastfeeding: “You are one of those who cannot endure the fast,” referring to verse 185 of the surah Bakara.

2-Redemtion fee (Fidya)

People in this category are those who are fasting-exempt on days in Ramadan for valid permanent reasons, like old age or chronic illness. They are obligated to pay a redemption fee or fidyah but do NOT have to make up the missed fast. Fidyah is an amount of wealth offer in place of each day of missed fast in Ramadan. The proof for this is this verse of the Quran:

For a few days. So, whoever of you is ill or is on a journey, then (he should fast) a number of other days(fixed no. of missed fast(qaza)); and against the ones who can afford it, on them, there is a fidyah, that is, the feeding of a poor man. Then whoever does good voluntarily, that is better for him. However, that you fast is better for you, if you only knew[instead]”.

Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:184

The fidyah is based on a volume measurement known as a sa‘. It is half a sa‘ of food per missed fast, that is common to and normally eaten by the people who live in the same locality as the non-fasting person. A sa‘ volume measurement is different for liquids and grains. One sa‘ of water is equal to 2.75 litres. One sa‘ of grain is equal to 2.176 kg. The fidyah or redemption fee is for those in need.

Note that one person will feed one needy person with half a sa‘ per missed fast in Ramadan. So, for30 days of Ramadan, one provides 15 sa‘s of food for 30 needy people.

Intentionally missing the Ramadan Fast (Kaffarah)

Intentionally or deliberately breaking or missing the fast on any day in Ramadan is a major sin in Islam. This major and requires punishment in form of repentance and an “atonement” or “expiation” known as kaffarah. Kaffarah(expiation) is a penalty that makes up for intentionally missing fast. It is necessary for any intentional violation of fast.

Kaffara for one intentional breaking of fast is freeing of a slave or fast two consecutive lunar months without break or feeding sixty poor persons. This is according to the explanation to Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari numbering 1936 narrated by Abu Huraira. Some scholars are of the opinion that this kaffarah is only applicable when one has missed one’s fast by intercourse, not for the person who eats or drink during fasting. This is because in the above mention Hadith Prophet(ﷺ) teach this penalty to the person who breaks fast due to intercourse. Other groups of scholars believe that see above kaffarah is necessary for any intentional violation of the fast. Former are of opinion that if a person breaks fast due to eating or drinking he should make up fast in other days as kaffara, along with Istagfar.

If someone has no financial capability to pay kaffara, then he must fast two consecutive lunar months without break for each intentionally violated fast in Ramadan. Moreover, If one is not able to fast consecutive two months, then one must feed sixty poor for each fasting. Additionally one may feed one needy person sixty meals, or ten poor six times each.

Alternatively, one can give in payment to the hungry 30 sa‘ of food such as wheat, rice, dried fruit etc.

THE MISSED FASTS OF THE DECEASED

Some scholars are of opinion that if a loved one passed away and he or she had days of Ramadan to make up, the family members or guardian should pay the fidyah for missed fasts. Others believe that family members can make up fasts on the behalf of a deceased person. Hazrat Aisha(RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said.

Whoever died and he ought to have fasted (the missed fasts of Ramadan) then his guardians must fast on his behalf.” 

Sahih al-Bukhari 1952