Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
I have only been practicing for about 5 years (nominally at that). The years prior to that I did not fast in Ramadan. For the years I have been fasting, I do not think I have completely made up for the fasts I legitimately missed due to menstruation. I want to correct this situation. Am I right in thinking I should first make up for the fasts legitimately missed (ie. menstruation-estimating the rough number of days because I don’t know the exact number) and then do the 60 days kaffara to cover me for the all the previous years of not fasting? When my period comes presumably I temporarily stop fasting and then continue where I left off after it is finished? The prospect of all this fasting seems daunting for me but I am right in thinking that there is no alternative? Is there a dua or any other such help that can be given for this task that can ensure its effects are the best and that it can be accepted by the Almighty. I am trying to make up the years of missed prayers as well (allbeit a token amount and at an erratic pace) between battling to perform the daily ones now. I give charity, but although working, have student loans to still pay off (The loan amount exceeds what is in my bank account). Despite this should, I still be working out 2.5% of my earnings and giving it away as a lump sum? If there are any other things you think I should be concerned/aware of please can you bring them to my attention. Thanks
The first thing to realize is why we are doing all this in the first place. Our worship should be a statement of our love for Allah and our thankfulness for the countless blessings that He showers upon us at every instant. Thus, we should hasten to fulfill the command of Allah as the lover hastens to fulfill their beloved’s request, out of the joy of love and the yearnings of passion.
This is why Allah Most High said, “And those who believe are greater in their love of Allah.”(Qur’an, 2: 165)
2. Fasts missed due to menstruation
It is obligatory to make up every single missed past, whether it was left legitimately (such as those due to menstruation, or serious sickness) or illegitimately.
The necessary expiation (kaffara) is best performed after having made up all missed fasts. [Shaykh Zada, Majma` al-Anhur] This is because making up missed fasts is more important. For details, see: The Essentials of Fasting atwww.sunnipath.com
Calculate how many missed fasts you have in your dues, and then take on a steady but manageable schedule to make them up.
Depending on your circumstances, fasting twice a week (such as on Mondays and Thursdays, in line with the example of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)) may be an option; or once a week… You may want to fast the ‘white days’ when the moon is full in the middle of the lunar month (13th, 14th, and 15th days of the lunar calendar), as this too is from the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
To motivate yourself, remember the tremendous merit and reward in fasting. Allah Most High told us, on the tongue of His Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that, “Fasting is for Me, and I shall reward for it.” [Bukhari and Muslim] The merits and spiritual dimensions of fasting have been explained in The Essentials of Fasting, hosted at www.sunnipath.com, which you may find some benefit in, inshaAllah.
There is no specific supplication for this, but it would be good to recite Surat al-Fatiha whenever you feel weak or disheartened. It is good to get a book of Prophetic supplications—available at any good Islamic online bookstore—and learn some of these beautiful expressions of slavehood, love, and thankfulness to Allah.
There is no zakat due on one who is in debt. [Nasafi, Kanz al-Daqa’iq]
For further details on any of the issues above, search the archives at www.sunnipath.com
And Allah alone gives success.