What Is the Benefit of Fasting for 40 Days?

Is Expiation (kaffara) Necessary For Not Fasting in Ramadan?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam


A Muslim, ignorant of his deen and ignorant of the importance of fasting in Ramadan, did not fast or make niyya to fast at all in the month for many years. Then he returned to Islam and made tawba for his sins, and he calculated he had missed about 400 fasts in his life. Does he have to make up the 400 fasts?


Expiation (Kaffara) only becomes necessary upon an individual if a fast was broken deliberately after actually starting it by eating, drinking, or having sexual intercourse. As such, if a fast of Ramadan is not kept altogether, then although one will be sinful for not fasting, a Kaffara will not be necessary; rather, one will be obliged to make up for the missed fast (qadha).

The great Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him), states while discussing the acts that make one only liable to make up for the fast (qadha) and not expiation (kaffara):

“If an individual broke his fast by mistake, such as while gargling water entered into his mouth unintentionally…or…..or he woke up in the morning without intending to fast….then in all these situations, only a Qadha will be necessary.

Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explains the above states:

“(Or he woke up in the morning without making an intention to fast)…..Because a Kaffara is only necessary upon a person who broke the fast after keeping it…. (Only a Qadha will be necessary) meaning there will be no Kaffara. (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 2/401-406)

Therefore, in light of the above, the one who missed the obligatory fasts of Ramadan should first repent to Allah Almighty and seek his forgiveness for not fasting. Secondly, it will be necessary to make up (qadha) for the 400 fasts that were missed, although a Kaffara will not be necessary. The person concerned should begin making up for the missed fasts as soon as possible, In sha’ Allah.

And Allah knows best.

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester, UK