I Owe Ramadan Fasts, but I Am Pregnant – What Can I Do?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

I was pregnant in 2020, so I couldn’t fast throughout the month of Ramadan, I didn’t pay back because I had a baby and was breastfeeding, but I fasted Ramadan 2021. Ramadan 2022 is fast approaching, and I am told I will have to pay back the fast of 2020 before Ramadan arrives. The issue is that I am pregnant again and not fit to observe the fast. Please, what can I do?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. We pray that Allah guides us to lives of peace and contentment in this life and the next.

Based on your description, your valid excuse persisted and therefore precluded you from having to make up your missed fasts before the 2022 Ramadan, and Allah knows best.

Making Up Missed Fasts

Someone obliged to make up some fast days of Ramadan is recommended to do so consecutively and immediately.

It is not permissible for a person with some unperformed fast-days of Ramadan to delay making them up until the next Ramadan unless there is an excuse. If one delays until the next Ramadan, one must pay 0.51 litres of food (a fidya) to the poor for each fast-day missed, in addition to making it up.

Delaying Making Up Missed Fasts

If making up a fast-day is delayed until a second Ramadan, one must pay double this amount for each day. And so forth; every year that passes upon an unfulfilled fast day adds 0.51 liters (fidya) to be paid for that day. But if one’s excuse for not performing them persists, such as travel or illness, then it is permissible to delay making them up if the excuse is present, even if it lasts for years. One is not obliged to pay the penalty fee for this delay even if several Ramadans go by but is merely obliged to make up the missed fast-days.

What Happens If Death Occurs before Paying Back Missed Fasts

If someone dies with unperformed fast-days which he could have fasted but did not, then each fast-day is paid for by the responsible family member with 0.51 liters of food, or he can fast for him in place of paying for each day. As for someone who dies after two Ramadans elapse upon his missed fast-days, each fast is paid for with 1.02 liters (double the fidya) of food, or the family member can both fast a day and pay 0.51 liters for each day (i.e. the family member may fast in the deceased’s stead for the initial nonperformance of the fast-day, though he cannot fast in place of paying the 0.51 liters of food for each year that making up a fast-day was delayed before the deceased’s death because this is the legal expiation for the delay. As for someone who died before his excuse for not fasting ceased to exist, nothing at all is obligatory for him, and Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.