Is It Permissible for Me to Postpone Making Up My Missed Fasts?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I am a student with limited time for religious studies, and I plan to gradually study the fiqh of fasting according to the Shafi‘i Madhab. Consequently, I have been postponing my qadha fasts. Previously, I followed the Hanbali Madhab, which allows the delay of qadha fasts until the next Ramadan. However, a few months ago, I switched to the Shafi‘i Madhab, and recently, I learned that delaying the fasts may result in a higher fidya (compensation) requirement.

Should I adhere to the Hanbali Madhab’s ruling and abandon my previous fasts, starting the fidya count when I became aware of this issue? Or am I excused and permitted to delay them by the Shafi‘i Madhab?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

Like missed prayers, there is no excuse for not making up the fast days. Obligatory fasts must be made up. They are a debt one owes to Allah, just like missed prayers.

There are valid excuses for not paying the expiatory payment (fidya). The fuqaha mentions that someone who was not aware that it was obligatory to make up missed fasts before the next Ramadan does not have to perform the expiation (fidya), even if he or she lives among scholars. Non-scholars (‘awam) are excused for being ignorant of minor, subtle points such as these, even if they live in Muslim lands among scholars.

If, however, one knew that it was obligatory to make up the fasts before the next Ramadan but was not aware that one had to make an expiatory payment (fidya), one would not be considered excused. [Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, 3.445]

So, in the case mentioned in the question, you would have to make up the missed fast days, but you would not have to pay the expiatory payment (fidya).

Furthermore, suppose you find the strict rule too challenging. In that case, I advise you to follow the alternative 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]

And Allah knows best.

See the full explanation here.

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 has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.