Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Make up the missed fasts or feed a poor person for each day?

The scholars have differed as to whether a woman who missed fasts due to her pregnancy or due to breastfeeding should make up the days she has missed (i.e. make al-qadā’) or feed a poor person for each day missed (i.e. give fidyah) and not make up. Or, is she to both make up the fast, and feed a poor person for each day missed? Over this the scholars have presented their views based upon their evidences.

This is considered a “mudd”: both hands cupped together.

The stronger position, and Allah knows best, is that she only needs to feed a poor person for each day she missed due to pregnancy or breastfeeding. Here are some of the proofs for that position:

1. Ibn ‘Abbās (رضي الله عنه) said: “If the pregnant woman fears for herself, or the breastfeeding woman for her child in Ramadān, then they are to break their fast and in its place feed a poor person for each day and they are not to make up the missed days.” Its chain of narration is saheeh. Reported by At-Tabari in his Tafseer (Dar al-Fikr) 2/136.

2. Ibn ‘Abbās (رضي الله عنه) saw the mother of his child who was either pregnant or breastfeeding, so he said: “You are from those who fasts with much difficulty. Upon you is to feed in the place of your fast, a poor person for each day missed, and there is no making up the missed days upon you.” Its chain of narration is saheeh. Reported by At-Tabari in his Tafseer, 2/136; Ad-Dāruqutni in his Sunan, 2/206, and he said, “Its isnad is saheeh.”

3. Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) was asked about a woman pregnant woman who fears for her unborn child, so he responded: “Let her break her fast and feed a poor person for each missed day one mudd of wheat.” Its chain of narration is saheeh. Reported by Ash-Shāfi’i in Al-Musnad (with tarteeb of As-Sindi), 1/278; Al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan al-Kubra, 4/230.

4. Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) said: “The pregnant and breastfeeding women break their fast and they do not make Qadā (i.e. they do not make upon what is missed).” Its chain of narration is hasan. Reported by At-Tabari in his Tafseer, 2/136; Ad-Dāruqutni in his Sunan, 2/207, and he declared it saheeh.

5. A pregnant woman asked Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) [about her fast], so he said: “Break your fast and feed for each missed day a poor person and do not make up the days.” The chain of narration is hasan, reported by Ad-Dāruqutni in his Sunan, 2/207.

6. Sa’eed Ibn Al-Musayyib (d. 94H) commented on the verse:

 

أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“Fasting is for a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey during them – then an equal number of days are to be made up. And upon those who are able to fast, but with hardship, a ransom [fidyah] of feeding a poor person for each day.” [Al-Baqarah: 184]

He said: “It refers to the old man who used to fast but his old age has prevented him from it. And it is for the pregnant woman upon whom fasting is not obligatory. So upon each of them is to feed a poor person a mudd (both hands cupped together) of wheat for each day until their Ramadān fasts are fulfilled.” Its chain of narration is hasan. See Tafseer At-Tabari, 2/137.

7. Anas Ibn Mālik (رضي الله عنه) stated that he would not fast during Ramadān because he had become old. So he would feed a person for each day instead. With a saheeh isnād. Reported in disconnected form in Kitābut-Tafseer, Chapter: أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ. Connected by Ibn Hajr, Fathul-Bāri 8/180, Ta’leeq at-Ta’leeq 4/177-178 to ‘Abd Ibn Humaid. Muhammad Ibn Umar Bazmool said: I say: It was reported by Ad-Dāruqutni 2/207-208, with an saheeh chain as stated by the author of the book, Sifat Sawm an-Nabiyy, p. 60.

8. Anas Ibn Mālik (رضي الله عنه) said: “A rider from Allah’s Messenger came to us. So I went to the Prophet (ﷺ) and found him taking lunch. So said to me: “Come and eat.” I said: “I’m fasting.” So he said: “Come and I will narrate to you about fasting: Indeed Allah alleviated from the traveller half the prayer, and He alleviated the fast from the pregnant and breastfeeding woman.” By Allah, the Prophet (ﷺ) said one of them or both of them. So woe to me, because I did not eat from the meal of the Prophet (ﷺ).” Hadeeth declared hasan by Al-Albāni, Saheeh Sunan Ibn Mājah (1/279), Saheeh Sunan An-Nasā’i (2/484), Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhi (1/218). At-Tirmidhi said regarding this hadeeth: “Some of the people of knowledge acted upon this [hadeeth], whilst others said: “The pregnant and the breastfeeding women may break their fast, make up their missed days and feed a poor person for each day.” And this was the saying of Sufyān, Mālik, Ash-Shāfi’i, and Ahmad. Yet others said: “They break their fast and feed a poor person [for each day], and they are not to make up the day. And if they wish, they can make up the days and they do not have to feed.” And that was the saying of Ishāq.” Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhee, 1/218.

Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Umar Bazmool said: “That which seems more correct to me is that the pregnant woman and the breastfeeding woman, if they fear for themselves, they break their fast, and feed a poor person for each missed day, and there is no making up the missed days (i.e. no qadā)…”

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