How many missed fasts to make up

Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

What does one do to make up missed fasts when he:

1.) Doesn’t remember how many he missed, due to them being random, and in several Ramadhan’s due to weakness (it could be any number of fasts)?

and 2.) Some of the days he doesn’t even remember if he was muslim at the time or not?

How should a person like this make up for his missed fasts?

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Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray that this message finds you well. May Allah reward you for your question and your concern for His religion.

The principle that applies here is the famous legal maxim, “Certainty is not lifted by doubt.” Let’s see how this principle operates to answer your questions.

Q1. If one doubts whether or not one was Muslim, is one responsible for making up one’s fasts during this period?

A1. No, one is not. Fasting is only obligatory if one is Muslim. In this case, one is certain that one was not Muslim (i.e. that it was not obligatory for one to fast) and one doubts whether or not one accepted Islam at a particular point in the past (i.e. whether or not it became obligatory for one to fast). Based on the principle mentioned above, one is not obligated to make up fasts during this period because the certainty of fasting not being obligatory on one is not lifted by the mere possibility of it becoming obilgatory. Hence, one only needs to make up one’s fasts from the point when one is certain that one has accepted Islam.

Q2. If one is certain that one is Muslim, but one doubts whether or not one fasted a particular obligatory fast, is one responsible for making up this fast?

A2. Yes, one must make up these fasts. In this case, one is certain that it became obligatory for one to fast, but one is uncertain whether or not one removed this obligation from one’s responsibility. The certainty of pending responsibility is not lifted by the uncertainty of having fulfilled it. Hence one must make up these fasts.

So, for example, if one doubts whether one became Muslim in January 2000 or January 2001, then one assumes that one became Muslim in January 2001. If one doubts whether one missed 10 fasts from January 2001 to January 2003 or whether one missed 20 fasts, then one assumes that one missed 20 fasts.

I hope thats clear. Please don’t hesitate to ask follow up questions if you have any.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Hamza.

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