Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
I need and want to make up for the times that I have not fasted due to;
1. My period every Ramadan since I was 12 till (now 21 years old).
2. When I was sick in Ramadan (I can’t remember which year it was or for how long I was sick)
3. Being ignorant and not fasting at all because I was lazy and had no motivation
4. Keep breaking it intentionally
What should I do?
I want to return and practice the religion again, but will I even be forgiven for this?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. May He reward you for this beautiful desire to turn back to Him. Amin.
Repent, be Forgiven
Allah Most High says, “O My slaves who have wronged themselves! Never lose hope in the mercy of Allah. Verily Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, He is the Most Forgiving and the Most Merciful.” [Quran, 39:53]
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents from sin is like one who never sinned.” [Ibn Maja]
Conditions of Repentance
The following are conditions for genuine repentance when one’s sins are between oneself and Allah:
(1) One must immediately cease sinning.
(2) One must regret one’s sins.
(3) One must resolve never to return to the sins.
Without any of the conditions mentioned above, repentance will not be valid.
Make-Up the Fasts
As part of one’s repentance, one should strive to make up for what one has done.
In this case, the fasts omitted from reaching puberty until the present day are obligatory to make up. [Nawawi, Minhaj Al-Talibin]
To do this, one must first determine how many fasts you omitted. You could estimate a number that makes you reasonably sure covers the number of fasts. Then you can add a bit more to be cautious.
After determining the number of days, you should make the intention to make up all the estimated fasts. It is best to schedule your fasts so you can fulfill them comfortably, without causing harm to your health, creating excessive difficulty, or that would turn you away from fasting entirely (Allah forbid).
If you follow the suggested steps above, you will consistently chip away at the number of fasts owed until you eventually fulfill them, and Allah knows best.
Paying the Penalties
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 for delaying. If one delays until the next Ramadan, one must pay the penalty (fidya) of 500 ml of staple to the poor for each fast-day missed, in addition to making it up. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]
Inexcusable Delaying over Multiple Ramadans
The strict rule in the Shafi’i School, reads as follows:
If making up a fast-day is delayed until a second Ramadan comes, one must pay double this amount for each day. And so forth; every year that passes upon an unfulfilled fast day adds 500 ml of staple food 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 for one to delay making them up as long as the excuse is present, even 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. [ibid.]
If you find the strict rule too challenging for you, I advise you to follow the lighter view, which holds only one penalty payment for delaying a missed fast without the compounding effect as above, and Allah knows best. [Shirbini, Mughni Al-Muhtaj]
Please see the following related content:
Advice on Making Up Fasts and Prayers
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.
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