Pregnant and breastfeeding women who missed their fasts in Ramadān ―Should they make up the days or feed a poor person for each day missed?

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Pregnant and breastfeeding Women who Missed their Fasts in Ramadān

The scholars have differed as to whether a woman who missed fasts due to her pregnancy or breastfeeding should make up the days she has missed (i.e. make 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 on their evidences.

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 (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) 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 place feed a poor person for each day and they are not to make up the missed days.”[1]

2. Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) 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.”[2]

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

3. Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) was asked about a 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.”[3]

4. Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) 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).”[4]

5. A pregnant woman asked Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) 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.”[5]

6. Sa’īd bin Al-Musayyib (rahimahullāh, died 94AH) 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, for them is a recompense [fidyah] of feeding a poor person for each day.”[6]

Ibn Al-Masayyib (rahimahullāh) 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 of wheat for each day until their Ramadān fasts are fulfilled.”[7]

7. Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) stated that he would not fast during Ramadān because he had become old. So, he would feed a person for each day instead.[8]

8. Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said: “A rider from Allah’s Messenger came to us. So, I went to the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and found him taking lunch. He 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 (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said one of them or both of them. And woe to me because I did not eat from the meal of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam).”[9]

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.”[10]

That which is more correct 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).

mudd is both hands cupped together which equates to 600 grams. So, a Prophetic sā’ is 2.4kg, and half a sā’ is 1.2kg.[11]

Note: Fidyah is not paid in cash, it is given in food as described above.


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[1] Its chain of narration is sahīh. Reported by At-Tabari in his Tafsīr (2/136, Dar Al-Fikr)

[2] Its chain of narration is sahīh. Reported by At-Tabari in his Tafsīr (2/136), Ad-Dāruqutni in his Sunan (2/206), and he said, “Its isnad is sahīh.”

[3] Its chain of narration is sahīh. Reported by Ash-Shāfi’i in Al-Musnad, with the tartīb of As-Sindi (1/278), Al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan Al-Kubra (4/230).

[4] Its chain of narration is hasan. Reported by At-Tabari in his Tafsīr (2/136), Ad-Dāruqutni in his Sunan (2/207), and he declared it sahīh.

[5] The chain of narration is hasan, reported by Ad-Dāruqutni in his Sunan (2/207).

[6] Al-Baqarah: 184.

[7] Its chain of narration is hasan. See Tafsīr At-Tabari, (2/137).

[8] With a sahīh chain of narration. Mentioned by Al-Bukhāri in a disconnected form in Kitābut-Tafsīr, Chapter: أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ. And connected by Ibn Hajr (rahimaullāh) in Fat-hul-Bāri (8/180), Ta’līq At-Ta’līq (4/177-178) to ‘Abd bin Humaid. It was reported by Ad-Dāruqutni (2/207-208), with a sahīh chain.

[9] Hadeeth declared hasan by Al-Albāni, Sahīh Sunan Ibn Mājah (1/279), Sahīh Sunan An-Nasā’i (2/484), Sahīh Sunan At-Tirmidhi (1/218).

[10] See Sahīh Sunan At-Tirmidhi (1/218).

[11] Reference: Al-Allāmah Ahmad bin Yahyā An-Najmi (rahimahullāh) dated: 27/7/1425H. I have a copy of this document from our Shaikh, may Allah have mercy upon him.

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