Brief Overview of Expiatory Payments (fidya)

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: Can you explain the rules of expiatory payments (fidya) and who it applies to?

Answer: Asslamu Alaykum Warahmatullah,

The expiatory payment is a special form of charity given to a poor person where one has to pay for each day of missed fasts during Ramadan.

For every day of missed fasting one has to pay the value of approximately 2 kg of wheat. Please consult a local scholar on what the amount exactly is in your area.

In the Hanafi-school, the expiatory payment for Ramadan is only paid by “a person who is not able to fast at all.” This entails that fthe expiatory payment only applies for people whom, due to health considerations:

1.       Cannot fast in Ramadan and

2.       Cannot make up for the missed fasts at any other time of the year and

3.       Are not expected to ever regain the ability to make up for the missed fasts

All three conditions must be fulfilled. Otherwise one does not pay expiatory payments but has to perform the missing fasts.

This entails that:

  • Someone who misses out on a few days of fasting due to a temporary illness does not pay any expiatory payment.
  • Someone who accidentally or deliberately broke the fast does not pay any expiatory payment.
  • Someone who is unable to fast this year due to surgery or the like, but is expected to be able to fast next year does not pay any expiatory payment.
  • Someone who is unable to fast during the summer-months (long days), but can perform the make-up fasts in the winter moths (shorter days) does not pay any expiatory payment

If expiatory payment is given then it is a condition that the inability to fast remains until death. If someone was to regain his ability to fast after having paid then the expiatory payment will be rendered charity and one will have to perform make-up fasts instead.

Thus, in the Hanafi-school there is no expiatory payment for a pregnant or nursing woman who does not fast during Ramadan. She only has to perform make-up fasts. Similarly there is no expiatory payment if one was to delay making-up missed fasts for the current Ramadan until the next Ramadan entered.

As for your specific questions

– If one pays fidyah are they still supposed to make up the fast that was missed?

No. The expiatory payment is only paid when one is not able to fast at all.

– Is the expiatory payment for the old and the young alike?

Yes. If a young person due to health considerations is neither able to fast nor expected to regain the ability to fast, then he can pay the expiatory payment. The amount is the same as for an old person.

– If someone misses a day of the fasting and intends to make it up for sure are they exempt from paying the expiatory payment since they will be making up the missed days of fasting?

The expiatory payment is only due when one is not able to fast at all. Since one has the ability to perform a make-up fast then there is no expiatory payment.

– What is the amount to be paid for fidyah and does this amount differ depending on the madhab?

There is some difference of opinion on some of the details relating to the expiatory payment within different schools of though.

And Allah knows best,

[ref: Haskafi, Durr al-Mukhtar; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Shaykhi Zadah, Majma al-Anhur; Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah; Tahtawi, Hashiyat Maraqi; Zailai, Tabyeen al-Haqa’iq]

Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani