Expiatory payment for missed fasts and prayers

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Sohail Hanif, SunniPath Academy Teacher

I have asked my lawyer to draft a will for me, and asked him to include a clause for the expiatory payment. I forwarded him Sidi Sohail Hanif’s answer regarding this, and he questioned if there is a different payment due for people with missed obligatory fasts and prayers, as there is a difference between “fidya” and “kaffara”: – …I note, in passing that Sidi Sohail Hanif’s answer deal with fidya (compensation for unintentional acts or omissions) but not with kaffara (making amends for intentional acts or omissions).

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Assalamu alaykum

The fidya, in this context, is a payment that one pays to make up for missed or incorrectly performed prayers and fasts if one is unable to perform them oneself. As for the kaffara (expiation) that is something that one must undertake, for example in an obligatory fast of Ramadan, if one intentionally does not fast or intentionally eats whilst fasting. The kaffara for this is fasting two consecutive months if able, or feeding a number of poor people if unable. If one were to die without fulfilling this kaffara this would also need to be paid for as a fidya.

So in answer to the question when calculating the fidya that one pays, one takes into account not only the obligatory prayers and fasts that one missed but all other Islamic duties that one fell short of. ‘Ala’addin ibn ‘Abidin lists these in his al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya saying,

And one pays for (unpaid) Zakat payments, and for an unperformed Hajj by paying for someone else to make Hajj on one’s behalf, and for supererogatory prayers that one corrupted and did not make up, and for acts of worship that one vowed to perform, and for not sacrificing on ‘Id al-Adha…and for expiations for violating the rules of the sacred precinct or of the ihram (the state of being a pilgrim), and for the expiation for killing somebody unintentionally…and for the financial rights of others whose rightful owners are unknown…and then for all responsibilities, financial or physical…and then one gives extra for charity to increase one’s reward. (al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya, 118, Mohammed Sa’id Burhani)

So one might say that the fidya is more expansive (a’amm) than the kaffara as it is used to pay for the kaffara as well if unperformed.

Sohail Hanif