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Is kaffarah obligatory if one misses a fast?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham
I have a question and would like Islamic opinion on it, between the age of 15 to 25 I was very lazy in fasting and used to skip fasts but now I’m worried about that and would like to know if its permissible for me to feed sixty people in order to compensate the fasting of each year that I missed? Because I think I might not be capable of fasting for all those days that I missed. If it is allowed for me to feed sixty people as compensation then what is the proper Islamic way of doing this? And is there any source you know of whom if money is given to them and they can arrange the feeding of food for the needy people?

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.


Saaiduna Abu Huraira Radiallahu Anhu narrates that while we were sitting with the Prophet a man came and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I have been ruined.” Allah’s Apostle asked what was the matter with him. He replied “I had sexual intercourse with my wife while I was fasting.” Allah’s Apostle asked him, “Can you afford to free a slave?” He replied in the negative. Allah’s Apostle asked him, “Can you fast for two successive months?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet asked him, “Can you afford to feed sixty poor persons?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet kept silent and while we were in that state, a big basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet. He asked, “Where is the questioner?” He replied, “I (am here).” The Prophet said (to him), “Take this (basket of dates) and give it in charity.” The man said, “Should I give it to a person poorer than I? By Allah; there is no family between its (i.e. Medina’s) two mountains who are poorer than I.” The Prophet smiled till his pre-molar teeth became visible and then said, ‘Feed your family with it.” (Sahih Bukhari p.259 v.1)

From the aforementioned hadith we can derive that if a person intentionally ate, drank or engaged in sexual intercourse during a fast in the month of Ramadhan, kaffarah will be obligatory. (Kitabul Fiqh p.906 v.1)

With regards to your question, if a person did not fast at all then kaffarah would not be obligatory for those fasts. Qadha will be necessary. Kaffarah is only obligatory if a person whilst fasting broke his fast intentionally by eating, drinking or engaging in sexual intercourse.

Finally remember, it is not necessary to keep the qadha fasts in order. One can keep it whenever he wishes. It is obligatory to keep a qadha fast for every single broken fast. (Ilmul Fiqh p.29 v.3)

The conclusion we can come to is that qadha will be sufficient and there is no need for you to feed sixty poor people as you would have done if you have intentionally broken a fast.

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.