Is it Mandatory to Make Up Last Ramaḍān’s Missed Fasts Before This Ramaḍān?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org
Answerd by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt

Question:

I missed a few fasts last Ramaḍān due to illness. Is it necessary for me to make up the fasts before the beginning of the upcoming Ramaḍān? What if I do not make up the missed fasts before Ramaḍān, do I pay a penalty known as the fidyah (redemption)?

Answer:

In the Name of Allāh, Most Kind, Most Merciful

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Thank you/ Jazāk Allāh Khayr for your question.

Making Up Missed Ramaḍān Fasts

Skipping or missing mandatory Ramaḍān fasts for a valid reason such as sickness, menses or travel will obligate make up fasts for the days missed. One should strive to complete the missed fasts as soon as possible after the ailment allowing the flexibility has ended.

“The obligation due [and owing] to Allāh is the one which most deserves to be fulfilled.” (Abū Dāwūd)

Time Frame to Make-up Missed Ramaḍān Fasts

Many jurists are of the view that one should make up the missed Ramaḍān fasts before the next Ramaḍān arrives since this is an obligation considered wujūb ʿalā al-fawr (mandatory immediately without the option of delay). This is the view of jurists from the Shāfʿīe, Mālikī and Ḥanbalī schools. The same view is agreed by Imam Abū Al-Ḥasan Al-Karkhī from the Ḥanafī school. (See: Al-Muḥīṭ Al-Burhānī, Kitāb Al-Fiqh ʿAlā Madhāhib Al-ʿArbaʿah). In accordance to this position, one would be sinful if one has not made up the missed fasts prior to the arrival of the next Ramaḍān. This fraternity of scholars cite the following as evidence:

ʿĀʾishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “I had to complete some of the fasts of Ramaḍān but I could not do it until the month of Shaʾbān due to my duties to the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings upon him). (Bukhārī and Muslim)

The stronger stance however in the Ḥanafī school and others such as Ibn Taymiyah is that the obligation of making up missed Ramaḍān fasts is deemed wujūb ʿalā al-tarākhī (mandatory with the option of reasonable delay). (See: Al-Muḥīṭ Al-Burhānī). Hence, if one delays making up missed Ramaḍān fasts until the arrival of another Ramaḍān, there is no reprimand or sin. The following verse of the Qurʿān does not specify a time frame, therefore even though it is preferred to make up the missed fasts prior to the arrival of another Ramaḍān, one can still delay without any admonishment.

“And whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days.” (Qurʿān 2:185)

Redemption Fidyah Payment When Making Up Missed Ramaḍān Fasts

According to the jamhūr (majority schools of jurisprudence) if the valid reason [such as travel, menses or sickness] to miss Ramaḍān fasts persists upon the arrival of another Ramaḍān, then one is only obliged to make-up the missed fasts when the ailment seizes.  There is no fidyah (redemption payment) necessary. However, if the ailment to be excused had ended prior to the arrival of another Ramaḍān and one did not make up the missed fasts, the fidyah payment will be necessary along with tawbah (repentance) and the make up fasts. The fidyah is to feed the poor a meal or give its value in cash for every missed fast. One reason for this stance is the following quoted by Imam Al-Nawawī;

“When one has missed Ramaḍān fasts and needs to make them up, due to the ailment no longer existing, it is not permissible to delay until the arrival of another Ramaḍān. If one did delay until another Ramaḍān arrived, then it is wājib (necessary) to discharge the fidyah of feeding the poor a decent meal for every missed day [along with the make up fast]. This is because Ibn ʿAbbās, Ibn ʿOmar and Abū Hurayrah (may Allāh be pleased with them) have said “Those who must make up missed fasts and do not do so until another Ramaḍān catches up with them, they will feed the poor for the missed days of the previous Ramaḍān.” (Majmūʾ Li Al-Nawawī)

The Ḥanafī school’s view is that there is no fidyah in such a situation. One is only required to make up the missed fasts. This position is also agreed by the jurist Imam Ibrāhīm Al-Nakhaʿī and also Imam Bukhārī. The Qurʿānic verse has no stipulation of feeding, therefore even though discharging fidyah may be praiseworthy and encouraged, it is not required. (See: Al-Badāʿi Al-Ṣanāʿi, Al-Muḥīṭ Al-Burhānī and Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī)

“And whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days.” (Qurʿān 2:185)

And Allāh Knows Best

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