When to pay the ransom for missed fasting days

  • Publish date:26/07/2010
  • Section:Fasting
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Question:

I am sick and the doctor has advised me not to fast because fasting is dangerous to my health. I have some questions:
-      Is it permissible for me to pay the expiation (for not fasting) for the whole month in one go at the beginning of Ramadan?
-      Is it permissible to give the whole expiation to a single person or it should be given to several people?
If I give the expiation to a poor family consisting of four persons, will this family be considered as four persons or just one?

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 ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is His Slave and Messenger.
 
The sick person who should give the expiation is the one whose disease is incurable, but the sick person who is expected to be cured must make up for the missed fasting days when he is cured. 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]
Consequently, if there is no hope that you will be cured, then you would be required to feed a needy Muslim person for each missed fasting day. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] - a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess - it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.} [Quran 2:184]
Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said that this verse is not abrogated, but is rather meant as a concession for old men and þwomen who have no strength to fast as well as sick people who are not expected to be cured, so they should ýfeed one poor person for each dayþ þof fasting (instead of ýfasting). This is the opinion of the majority of scholars except Imaam Maalik  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him.
Considering this, you should know that it is not permissible for you to give the expiation for a fasting day until you already break your fast on that day, i.e. after the crack of dawn, because fasting is not obligatory for you before that time.
 Hence, you have two options:
 
Give the expiation for each day after breaking the fast of that day.
 
Give the expiation for the whole month when it ends.
 
It is also permissible to give the expiation for the whole month to a single needy person because each day is considered an independent act of worship. This ruling was expressly stated by Al Mirdaawi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him in "Al Insaaf" and also by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatawa.
In brief, it is not permissible for you to give the expiation at the beginning of Ramadan, and it is permissible to give the expiation for the whole month to a single needy person or a four-member family.
The ransom is a Mudd (750 g) of common food of the country for each missed fasting day, but if you give half a Saa' (one and half Kg) it would be better to avoid the difference of opinion amongst scholars (to be on the safe side).ý
The ransom is a Mudd (750 g) of the common food of the country for each missed fasting day. However, if you give half a Saa' (one and half Kg) it would be better to avoid the difference of opinion amongst scholars (to be on the safe side).ý
Allah Knows best.

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