How Many Expiations Are Required For Multiple Broken Fasts?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali

Question: During Ramadhan I have broken 7 fasts in 2009 and 6 in 2010 intentionally (which i regret). I have heard I must make them up and also pay kaffara.  Is it ok to pay the kaffara by feeding 60 poor people for every fast I broke or do I have to keep 60 fasts for  each one?  And could I pay when i have the means as i only have money for 6 fasts that I broke and I am working to earn the rest….or do i need to pay in one go?

Answer: Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahimi

Only one expiation (kaffara) is owed for all the fasts vitiated in 2009 and 2010. If one purposely breaks a fast again in the future after performing the expiation, a new expiation is owed.  [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

The expiation is to fast sixty consecutive days in the year without any interruption. One must choose a time where one can fast these sixty days without the days of Eid or the three days after Eid al-Adha (al-Ayyam al-Tashriq) interrupting the fasts because of the prohibition of fasting on these days. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah] If one does not fast them consecutively, then one must restart the 60 day period each time the continuity of the fasts is broken. [Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi]

It is important to note that one does not have a choice between fasting sixty days and feeding sixty poor people. Rather, one is obliged to fast sixty days, unless one is genuinely unable to perform all of these fasts based on reasonable surety. Reasonable surety is known by: 1) manifest signs, 2) a relevant past experience, or 3) the notification of an upright, Muslim doctor/expert.

If one is genuinely unable to perform the sixty consecutive fasts based on reasonable surety, then one must either:

a) feed the same sixty, poor people to their fill for two meals, or

b) feed one poor person to his fill for two meals a day for sixty days, or

c) give sixty poor people half a sa’* of wheat (or similar food grains) or its monetary value, or

d) give sixty poor people a sa’* of dates (or similar food grains) or its monetary value, or

e) give one poor person either c or d for sixty days.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah]

*Half a sa’ is approximately 2 kilos (4.5 pounds). A full sa’ is approximately 4 kilos (9 pounds).

Barak Allah fikum

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali is a female student of Islamic knowledge from the US. She studies with leading Hanafi scholars from Syria and elsewhere.