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Not making up one’s fast until the next Ramadan: is expiation needed?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What is the amount that needs to be paid if one does not make up a fast until after the coming of the next ramadan? Also does it accumulate? That is, will a fast from two ramadans ago require twice as much? Finally, to whom can this be given?


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Hanafi school, no expiation is needed for delaying making up one’s unperformed fasts until the next Ramadan comes in. This is because it is not obligatory to make up one’s fasts immediately. [Halabi, Multaqa al-Abhur; Marghinani, al-Hidaya]

It is, however, recommended to make up one’s fasts as soon as possible, in order to clear one’s debt to Allah. [Shaykh Zada, Majma` al-Anhur Sharh Multaqa al-Abhur, 1.250; Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir, 2.354-355]

The reason it is not obligatory to make up one’s fasts immediately is because Allah’s command, namely His saying,

“…and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (then fast the same) number of other days” [Qur’an, 2.185]

is unconditioned, and the purport of unconditioned texts is decisive until another decisive text conditions it. [Mahbubi, al-Tawdih; Marghinani/Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir Sharh al-Hidaya, 2.354-355]

Thus, all we have been commanded to do is to fast any same “number of other other days” to clear our debt.

One caution, however, is that if one dies without making up one’s fasts, without excuse, one will have been sinful. One should keep track of unmade-up fasts and make arrangements for expiation payments to be given from the discretionary third of one’s wealth upon death, in case one dies unexpectedly, as death is wont to happen.

[an explanation of the fiqh of expiatory payments, written by Sidi Sohail Hanif, follows below]

Faraz Rabbani

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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