Poor person who cannot pay expiation of fast
Fatwa No: 131133

Question

My female relative suffers from diabetes and hypertension, and she is living with only one kidney. So the physician advised her not to fast Ramadan because fasting puts her health at risk. When she asked her husband to give her the money therewith to feed the poor for the days she does not fast, he refused, and she has no money to do so. Now she does not fast in Ramadan and does not feed the poor. What is the ruling on that? What should she do in this case?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

If this woman is expected to recover from her illness, then she should wait till Allah, the Almighty, cures her and then she can make up for the days which she did not fast, because Allah, the Almighty, says (what means): {So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up].} [Quran 2:184]

But if her illness is incurable and she is not expected to recover from it, she should feed a poor person with a mudd (0.75 liter in volume) of foodstuff for each day that she does not fast. This expiation is due from her money if she has money, and her husband is not required to give it out on her behalf. If she has no money to give out the expiation, then, according to many scholars, it remains a debt to which she is liable, and she should give it out once she can afford it. There is no sin on her for delaying the expiation, because she cannot give it. Allah, the Almighty, says (what means):

•        {Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.} [Quran 2:286]

•        {So fear Allah as much as you are able.} [Quran 64:16]

In Kashshaaf Al-Qinaa‘, Al-Bahooti  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

If one cannot fast, be he old or suffering an illness from which cure is not expected, feeding is not waived from him because he cannot afford it, just like the ransom of Hajj. So he should offer the feeding once he is able to afford it.

However, according to other scholars, the expiation is waived in this case because it has become due without the person doing anything to incur it upon himself. So it lapses because he cannot afford it. This opinion is chosen by An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in Al-Majmoo‘.

Allah knows best.

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