The sequence of expiation followed in case of Thihaar
Fatwa No: 33425

  • Fatwa Date:6-3-2012 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 13, 1433
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Must the expiation of Thihaar mentioned in the Quran be tried in sequence, according to the man’s ability, or is he allowed to choose from the three kinds of expiation? How can we tell that a person is capable of fasting or not? If a person fasts but hugs or kisses his wife while fasting, must he offer a new expiation?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.


The expiation of Thihaar mentioned in the Quran must be observed in sequence. It is impermissible to shift to the second or third kind of expiation unless one is unable to offer or observe the preceding expiation. If a man is unable to free a slave, he can shift to fasting; if he is unable to fast, he can shift to feeding a poor person. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Then [there must be] the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. That is what you are admonished thereby; and Allaah is Acquainted with what you do* And he who does not find [a slave] - then a fast for two months consecutively before they touch one another; and he who is unable - then the feeding of sixty poor persons.} [Quran 58:3-4]

Inability to fast may be due to a disease that may worsen or take a longer time to heal if a person fasts, old age or extreme desire due to which the man cannot abandon sexual intercourse.

The Hanbali scholar, Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that scholars are unanimous in this regard. When Aws ibn As-Saamit  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was unable to fast the expiation of Thihaar because he was an old man, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered him to feed sixty needy persons. [Ahmad, Abu Daawood and At-Tabaraani]

Moreover, when Salamah ibn Sakhr said to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that he had strong sexual desire and so was unable to fast, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered him to feed the needy instead. [Abu Daawood]

Hugging and kissing are unlawful before the expiation is complete. However, doing such things does not interrupt the sequence of fasting, unless such hugging and kissing would lead to anything that nullifies the fast. That is to say, a person who is unable to refrain from hugging and kissing without causing anything that nullifies the fast is not considered incapable of fasting. This is the opinion of the Hanbali scholar, Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.

Allaah Knows best.

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