Should I Make Up for Breaking Sunna Acts of Worship in the Shafi‘i School?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


For the Shafi’i School: Is there qada for intentionally breaking a Sunna fast? What about breaking I’tikaf in Ramadan without a valid reason? Also, should I start over if I vowed to perform I’tikaf for three days but missed one unintentionally? Should this I’tikaf be accompanied by fasting?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.
There is generally no Qada (making up) of a Sunna act in the Shafi‘i School. I‘tikaf in the Shafi‘i School is Sunna unless one vows to undertake it, and therefore, no Qada is required for leaving i‘tikaf, and Allah knows best.

You have broken the vow if you vowed to fast for three consecutive days and skipped a day, but if it was for three days without specifying that they should be consecutive, then the vow is intact. Fasting is not a condition for the validity of i‘tikaf in the Shafi‘i School, and Allah knows best.

Breaking Voluntary Fasts

Regarding supererogatory fasts, according to the Shafi’i School, it is not considered forbidden (haram) to break such fasts. However, doing so without a valid excuse is disliked (makruh). Two situations are considered valid excuses and exempt a person from this disapproval:

  1. When a person is a guest (if it would cause undue burden on the host, should they abstain from eating.)
  2. When a person is a host (and their guest would feel uncomfortable or burdened if they were left to eat alone).[Jurdani, Fath al-‘Allam]
In both these cases, breaking the supererogatory fast is actually recommended.

It is important to note that if one breaks a supererogatory fast, whether with or without a valid excuse, making up for that missed fast is not obligatory. However, in line with the Hanafi School, which considers making up such fasts necessary, it would be recommended in the Shafi’i School to make them up as well [ibid].

Ruling on I‘tikaf

At any time, it is Sunna to make a spiritual retreat (i’tikaf) in the mosque. I‘tikaf is highly emphasized during Ramadan and more in the last ten days [Misri, ‘Umda al-Salik].

It is important to note that the Shafi‘i School does not differentiate between a Sunna and Nafl i‘tikaf and that the Hanafi rules for a nafl i‘tikaf more closely resemble the Shafi‘i rules for Sunna i‘tikaf. The only obligatory form of i‘tikaf is when one takes a vow to undertake the i‘tikaf, and Allah knows best. [Mawsu‘a al-Fiqhiyya]

Vows to Undertake I‘tikaf

If one vows to make a spiritual retreat for a consecutive period, then one must do so. The consecutiveness of such a period is not nullified by leaving the mosque for something necessary such as eating (even when it is possible to do so in the mosque), drinking (provided it is not possible to do so in the mosque), using the lavatory, attending to an illness, the onset of a menstrual period, or similar things [Misri, ‘Umda al-Salik]

Though one’s spiritual retreat is interrupted by leaving the mosque to visit a sick person, perform a funeral prayer (janaza), or attend the Friday prayer (jumu’a).[ Misri, ‘Umda al-Salik]

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 (Allah have mercy on him), where he taught.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Shaykh Muhammad Awama, Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Hitu, 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 been the Director of the Discover Islam Centre, and for six years, he has been the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has fifteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic podcast, education, 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 Prophetic living and fitness.