Can the Poor and Medically Unable Be Exempt from Both Fasting and the Expiatory Payment in Ramadan?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas


If an individual cannot fast during Ramadan due to health issues but is too poor to donate the requisite amount to the needy, are they exempt from fasting and charity?


I pray you are well.

In the Hanafi school, the expiatory payment (fidya) for missed fasts during Ramadan only applies to someone who has a sickness that prevents him from fasting and has no hope of recovering from such a sickness. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

In determining the above, one should consult a reliable Muslim physician and local scholars aware of this issue’s legal details.

Chronic Illness, Fasting, and Fidya

If such a chronic illness from which recovery is not expected is established, one must pay expiatory payments (fidya) for every missed Ramadan fast.

The expiatory payment is the monetary equivalent of 2.2 kg of wheat per fast. Again, one should consult a reliable local scholar to determine how much the monetary value of this would be.

A condition for this is that one possesses sufficient wealth to pay these expiatory payments. If one is considered poor and unable to pay the expiatory payment, he should seek Allah’s forgiveness and have remorse for the non-fulfillment of such an obligation. [Haskafi, Durr al-Mukhtar; Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

However, it should be noted that the expiatory payment is a very meager sum. One should take all means to try and pay it or some of it, even if it means spreading out such payments or attempting to save some wealth over a duration of time. Resorting to the ruling mentioned previously should only be done as a last resort when one is certain that one simply does not have the means to fulfill such payments or if such payments would lead to hardship in one’s life.

For further details regarding the expiatory payment, please see:

Long Term Illness That Prevents Fasting

Brief Overview of Expiatory Payments (Fidya)

[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studied Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is now in his final year of his PhD at Oxford University, looking at the early evolution of the Hanafi madhab.
His teachers include Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Salah Abu’l Hajj, Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Snobar, Shaykh Ali Hani, Shaykh Hamza Bakri, Ustadh Rajab Harun, and others.
Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in the UK with his wife.