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Expiation for missed fasts due to nursing

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Karim Yahya, SunniPath Academy Teacher

I found in al-fiqh al-manhaji that a breastfeeding mother should pay an expiation (fidya) for every day and should also fast every day of the Ramadan she lost. What should my wife do now? And can we pay the expiation in Indonesia because my wife is from there and we will be there in two weeks.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In The Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

A pregnant or breastfeeding woman who breaks her fast because she fears an illness afflicting her (by herself or along with the child) has to make up the fast without paying an expiation. If she breaks her fast only out of fear for the child, then she must also pay an expiation for each day missed of 0.51 liters (1 mudd) of food like that paid for the Zakat of ‘Eid al-Fitr [see Reliance of The Traveler h7.6].

Here an illness means having or fearing a significant illness (not something like minor headache or pain), or fearing the increase or prolongation of the illness. The food must be distributed to the poor or those short of money [see Reliance of the Traveler h8.8 and h8.11]. It is permissible to give multiple expiations to one person, but any one day’s expiation may not be divided between two people.

The expiation may also be transported to another place because the impermissibility of transportation is specific to zakat.[1] So if your wife broke her fast out of fear for the child alone and consequently owes an expiation, then she may fulfill it by giving 0.51 liters of rice (or another staple grain) to one poor or needy person in Indonesia. However feeding more people is better, but one should be careful not to divide any one day’s expiation between two or more people.

She should also be careful not to delay making up the missed days of Ramadan until the next Ramadan without an excuse because this is unlawful. And Allah knows best and He alone gives success (tawfiq).

[1]See Tuhfa with Abdul-Hamid’s supercommentary: Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Hawashi al-Sharwani Wa Ibn Qasim al-Abbadi ‘Ala Tuhfah al-Muhtaj Bisharh al-Minhaj (Beruit, Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi), 3:441,442, and 446.

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