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What Are the Islamic Rulings Related to Someone Suffering From Dementia?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

My grandma has totally lost her mind. She doesn’t know what she is saying, can’t eat, or relieve herself, so the family need to do everything for her.

a. Is she exempt from prayers?

b. Does she still have to cover herself in the presence of non-mehram man?

c. When taking her up the stairs to the bathroom, at times, I have to help lift her. There are occasions when we make body contact. Is it sinful?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

We ask God to grant your family health and ease.

Regarding your questions:

a. Based on the description you have given, it does not seem like the prayer would be obligatory on your grandmother as she is no longer considered morally-responsible (mukallaf) due to a deficiency in intellect (aql).

b. The basis is that a woman must cover her entire body in front of a non-mahram man except the face, hands, and feet.

However, in the case of an elderly woman who is no longer sexually desirable, a number of scholars stated that it is permissible to look at those parts of the body that are “generally” uncovered in front of her mahrams. This would include her face, hands, head/hair, feet, arms, neck, and shin. [Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni (9:491) & Sharh al-kabir (7:342); al-Buhuti, al-Kashshaf (5:31); al-Mardawi, al-Insaf (8:26)]

c. The general rule is that it is permissible to touch those areas of a woman that are not considered part of her nakedness (awra). The exception to this is (a) if one fears desire in doing so and (b) a non-mahram. In your cases, as your grandmother is your mahram, it would be permissible for you to touch the areas mentioned above. This is especially the case if there is no one else able to properly assist her as it would be a genuine case of need.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Day 6 In A Nutshell – The Ties That Bind, #YourRamadanHub Xtra

If you missed the livestream of the two extraordinary short talks Shaykh Muhammad Adiyenka Mendes gave, you can listen to them in full on the SeekersHub podcast on iTunes (please subscribe for automatic updates). In the meantime, we present you with #YourRamadanHub Xtra – the best of the day’s events in a nutshell – it’s all about families that drive us up the wall and Prophetic ﷺ tenderness toward the young and the old.

 

Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

How Can Someone Too Old to Fast Can Make up Deliberately Missed Fasts During Ramadan?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

A lady who is old now and can’t fast anymore had not fasted for years when she was young. Also, when she started fasting, she didn’t make up for the days she couldn’t fast due to menstruation and now wants to make up for all those missed fasts.

How should she make up for those fasts given that she can’t fast anymore?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

If she is unable to fast, and this inability is chronic such that she is not expected to recover from it, she would need to pay the expiation (fidya).

The expiation is the monetary equivalent of approximately 2.2kg of wheat, the price of which you should confirm with your local mosque or Islamic centre, or a reliable scholar.

Further, she would need to repent for deliberately missing fasts during Ramadan. [see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)]

Please also see: Brief Overview of Expiatory Payments (fidya) and: Too Sick to Fast in Ramadan, Too Poor to Pay the Expiatory Payment (Fidya)

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani