Delaying an Expiation Fast

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked if it is sinful to delay an expiation fast for breaking an oath.

Is it sinful to delay fast for an oath expiation?

Yes, it is considered to be religiously sinful to delay the mandatory expiation (kaffara) of a nullified oath (yamin), unless you have a reasonable excuse to do so, such as being too poor to make the payment and too sick to fast.

The general basis with duties is that they are to be taken care of as soon as reasonably possible and without undue delay, except if you have a reasonable excuse to do the contrary. At the very least, you should include the expiation (kaffara), in this case, in a document containing any other unfulfilled duties which you owe to Allah Most High.

Allah Most High said, “And hasten towards forgiveness from your Lord and a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those mindful of Allah.” (Sura Aal ‘Imran 3:133) The divine injunction here is to rush to that by which you will attain unto forgiveness, such as by fulfilling your duties (wajibat).

Note that if there is an undue delay, you should repent for your error.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see How to Expiate a Broken Oath? and A Reader on Tawba (Repentance).

And Allah Most High knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Visiting Christmas Markets

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked about visiting Christmas Markets having promised not to celebrate Christmas.


Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I study in Europe and I promised by Allah that I will never celebrate Christmas. However will I keep my promise if I visit the Christmas Markets (where candles, food, and alcohol for Christmas is sold) without buying and consuming anything?

Here I never joined my peers to any gatherings therefore now I am always left alone. However I always dreamed of having international friends from all over the world. Last time some people invited me to go with them for simple shops and then later visit a Christmas Market. I really wanted to join them just to make friends. I went there and really did not enjoy the Christmas Market, rather I was happy to be with some international peers. Have I broken my promise?

If not, they again invited me for other Christmas Markets in other regions of Europe. Can I join them just for the reason of making friends? They are also not pure Christians and have no intention to engage me in their religion, they just want to spend a good time.

Thank you for your answer in advance.

If you swore an oath to never celebrate Christmas, you would be bound to this oath and breaking it would require expiation. However, the word “celebrating” is vague. Your oath would, therefore, apply to the type of celebration you intended when making it.

Generally, simply visiting a Christmas market is not considered by people as “celebrating” Christmas. Rather, celebrating Christmas involves partaking in celebratory rituals associated with this holiday, such as erecting a tree with lights or going to church for services etc.

If this is what you had in mind when you swore your oath (and not simply visiting a Christmas market or having dinner with your family on Christmas day), then your oath would be limited to these more formal celebratory aspects of Christmas.


Kaffara for Broken Oath If Genuinely Forgotten

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers a question about expiation for broken oaths.

I have been gaining weight recently. In an attempt to curb that, I made an oath to Allah, saying “Wallahi, I will not drink any soda for the month of December.” However, at work, I just went about my day and having completely forgotten about my oath, went to the deli and purchased a can and drank it. I remembered over a day later that I had indeed made the oath. Am I liable to pay kaffara, feed the poor, or fast?

Maybe this connection is not right, but I know during Ramadan, you can accidentally eat an entire meal and if in your mind, you have truly forgotten that you were fasting, you can stop when you remember and complete your fast with no sin incurring on you. Please let me know if my breaking my oath requires expiation.

Jazak Allah khayr.

No, there is no expiation for someone who breaks their oath forgetfully in the Shafi‘i School. (Asna al-Matalib)

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “My nation has been forgiven their mistakes and that which they do out of forgetfulness or force.” (Ibn Majah, al-Bayhaqi, and others, deemed sound by Imam al-Nawawi)

I pray this helps.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Is There an Expiation for Breaking Fasts Outside of Ramadan?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: I forgot I was making up a fast and committed a sin of watching filth and masturbating. I broke my fast because there was ihtilaam (wet dream).

On another occasion while keeping a voluntary fast outside the month of Ramadan I masturbated intentionally. Do I have to do kaffara (expiation)? 

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah,

No, there is no expiation (kaffara) for fasts deliberately invalidated outside Ramadan. Depending on the reason, a person may well be sinful, and a makeup (qada’) would be due, but an expiation would not be binding upon him.

As for forgetfully doing something which invalidates the fast, this would be excusable, just as it is during the month of Ramadan itself. However, the sin itself still needs to be expiated for with sincere repentance.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.320/327)]

Please also see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance) and When is Expiation Required For a Fast?

I’d also recommend: Purify Your Gaze

And Allah Most High alone knows best.


[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

Making up Fasts Broken by Intercourse or Eating After Thinking the Fast Was Broken

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu alaikum,

 During Ramadan, a couple had sexual intercourse several times on several days while fasting.
 They also missed several Ramadan fast intentionally without a valid reason.
 Also a few times they thought that their fasting was broken due to bleeding and thus started eating.
 The couple realizes that they have to fast 60 days consecutively +1 day, but how many in total do they have to do?
 The husband is healthy and is capable, however the wife is very weak in health, occasionally faints, is low in iron, etc.
 Please give a detailed solution for both.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

[1] They should sincerely repent from their actions. See: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

[2] They need to perform one expiation (kaffarah) each. See: The Expiation (Kaffara) for Having Sex While Fasting

[3] And make up each day they invalidated their fast– by intercourse or eating after thinking their fast had been invalidated– or any day they simply did not fast. See also: Is Expiation (kaffara) Necessary For Not Fasting in Ramadan?

If they cannot remember the exact number of days they invalidated their fast, they should make a reasonable, yet safe estimate, and make up that number.

And also see: Years of Missed Fasts and Expiation (kaffara) and: How Many Expiations Are Required For Multiple Broken Fasts?

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Must I Fast 180 Days as Expiation for 3 Broken Fasts?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: 1. I broke 2-3 fasts without any valid reason during the month of Ramadan at about age 17 in ignorance. Do i have to have 180 fasts continuously as expiation?

2. For about 2-3 Ramadans I served dates to those who fast in the Masjid and the residue stuck to my palms.  While made wudu before Iftar I used to unintentionally get the taste of dates in my mouth from the residue on my hand ? Did that invalidate my fast.  If yes, will I have to make up fasts for all 2-3 Ramadans and fast 60 days for every invalidated fast?


3. If i have to have 60 fasts for each broken fast without valid reason, will i have to have to fast continuously or are the breaks allowed in between.



Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.

[1] You only need to perform a single expiation. This is 60 successive days of fasting which don’t contain Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, nor Eid al-Adha and the three days after it. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; `Ala al-Din `Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]

[2] No, such tasting would not invalidate your fast. Thus you do not need to make up these fasts.

[3] In summary, you will need to perform a single expiation and make up every fast you broke. It would be best to make up such broken fasts as soon as reasonably possible.

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Years of Missed Fasts and Expiation (kaffara)

How Many Expiations Are Required For Multiple Broken Fasts?

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

Brief Overview of Expiatory Payments (fidya)

How Many Expiations Are Required For Multiple Broken Fasts?

Answered by Ustadha Umm Ihsan

Question: During Ramadhan I have broken 7 fasts in 2009 and 6 in 2010 intentionally (which i regret). I have heard I must make them up and also pay kaffara.  Is it ok to pay the kaffara by feeding 60 poor people for every fast I broke or do I have to keep 60 fasts for  each one?  And could I pay when i have the means as i only have money for 6 fasts that I broke and I am working to earn the rest….or do i need to pay in one go?

Answer: Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahimi

Only one expiation (kaffara) is owed for all the fasts vitiated in 2009 and 2010. If one purposely breaks a fast again in the future after performing the expiation, a new expiation is owed.  [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

The expiation is to fast sixty consecutive days in the year without any interruption. One must choose a time where one can fast these sixty days without the days of Eid or the three days after Eid al-Adha (al-Ayyam al-Tashriq) interrupting the fasts because of the prohibition of fasting on these days. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah] If one does not fast them consecutively, then one must restart the 60 day period each time the continuity of the fasts is broken. [Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi]

It is important to note that one does not have a choice between fasting sixty days and feeding sixty poor people. Rather, one is obliged to fast sixty days, unless one is genuinely unable to perform all of these fasts based on reasonable surety. Reasonable surety is known by: 1) manifest signs, 2) a relevant past experience, or 3) the notification of an upright, Muslim doctor/expert.

If one is genuinely unable to perform the sixty consecutive fasts based on reasonable surety, then one must either:

a) feed the same sixty, poor people to their fill for two meals, or

b) feed one poor person to his fill for two meals a day for sixty days, or

c) give sixty poor people half a sa’* of wheat (or similar food grains) or its monetary value, or

d) give sixty poor people a sa’* of dates (or similar food grains) or its monetary value, or

e) give one poor person either c or d for sixty days.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah]

*Half a sa’ is approximately 2 kilos (4.5 pounds). A full sa’ is approximately 4 kilos (9 pounds).

Barak Allah fikum

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Umm Ihsan is a female student of Islamic knowledge from the US. She studies with leading Hanafi scholars from Syria and elsewhere.

Eating After Dawn & Breaking The Fast For An Invitation

Answered by Sidi `Abd al-Rahim Reasat

Question: Is expiation or just a make-up required for breaking the fast (intentionally) in the following circumstances: (a) rising (unintentionally) after Fajr time has arrived, and then taking suhur out of physical necessity, or (b) breaking the fast for a meal in which would be highly offensive not to partake? I have been advised by some very trustworthy scholars that in the instance of (b) above, in order to be permitted to break the fast and only necessitate qada, I could take the traveler’s dispensation, and make a trip of the required length. Would this “solution” also apply to (a) above, namely, rising too late and intentionally eating?

Answer: Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

1. Eating something intentionally in Ramadan after the time of fajr has entered would make the fast of that day invalid. If one had not intended the fast from the previous night,or prior to eating this would entail the qada of that fast without the need to perform the expiation.

However if one had a prior intention from the night before, your fast would be invalidated and an expiation would be necessary. (Maraqi al-Falah).

Not fasting, or breaking a fast because of a physical necessity is permissible under conditions the Sacred Law has laid down. Amongst them are:

– the fear of an illness occouring,
– it increasing in terms of length or severity,
– the recovery of a present illness being slowed
– a pregnant woman fearing fearing illness or death for herself or her child
– someone breastfeeding a child who fears the above for herself or the child.

One will be permitted to break a fast or not fast if one knows that any of the above will occour through the advice of a skilled muslim doctor, past experience or one considering it an overwhelming possibility. In these situations only a qada is required. [Maraqi al-Falah; Hashiya al-Tahtawi; Durr al-Mukhtar; Radd al-Muhtar]

If your eating in the morning was not for one of the above reasons then either a qada with a kaffara is due, or just a qada depending on whether one initiated the fast through intention or not.

2. Breaking a fast to partake in such a meal is not permitted during the obligatory fast during Ramadan, and doing so would necessitate a qada as well as a expiation. However if one is fasting voluntarily one may break the fast if one is a host, a guest or in order to avoid upsetting one’s parents as long it is not after the time of ‘asr. In this case, and in the situation you mentioned one should politely, yet firmly, excuse oneself.

It is permitted for the traveller to not fast as long one has initiated the journey prior to the break of dawn (Maraqi al-Falah). If one initiated the journey after Fajr it is not permitted to break the fast, however if one did so there will be no expiation. (Hashiya al-Tahtawi, Durr al-Mukhtar, Radd al-Muhtar). This would also apply in the first scenario.

And Allah Most High knows best.

‘Abd al-Rahim

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

When Is Expiation Required For A Fast?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: A sister was not encouraged to fast when she was young. Does she have to make expiation for these missed fasts in addition to making them up?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

She will only have to make up (qada) for the fasts missed after puberty. She need not fast for 60 continuous days, nor does she have to pay anything.

It should always be remembered that an expiation (kaffara) only becomes necessary upon an individual if a fast was broken deliberately (without a valid excuse) after actually starting it by eating, drinking or having sexual intercourse. As such, if a fast of Ramadan was not kept altogether, then although one will be sinful for not fasting, an expiation will not be necessary, rather one will be obliged to make up for the missed fasts.

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 and not expiation:

“If an individual broke his fast by mistake, such as whilst gargling water entered into his/her mouth unintentionally  or they woke up in the morning without making an intention of fasting .then in all these situations, only a make-up will be necessary.”

Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) whilst explaining the above states:

“(Or he woke up in the morning without making an intention to fast) … Because an expiation is only necessary upon a person who broke the fast after keeping it . (Only a make-up will be necessary) meaning there will be no expiation.” (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 after puberty should first repent to Allah Almighty and seek His forgiveness for not fasting. Secondly, it will be necessary to make up for the fasts that were missed, although expiation will not be necessary. The person concerned should begin making up for the missed fasts as soon as possible, insha Allah.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK

Years of Missed Fasts and Expiation (kaffara)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I have several years in which I did not fast Ramadan. I also have some years in which I did fast but I didn’t make up the days I did not fast because of menstruation. Should I make up the fasts from my menstruation first and then perform the 60-day kaffara for all the previous years of not fasting? I feel overwhelmed by the amount of fasting I have to do. Can you give me a prayer?

Answer: The first thing to realize is why we are doing all this in the first place. Our worship should be a statement of our love for Allah and our thankfulness for the countless blessings that He showers upon us at every instant. Thus, we should hasten to fulfill the command of Allah as the lover hastens to fulfill their beloved’s request, out of the joy of love and the yearnings of passion.

This is why Allah Most High said, “And those who believe are greater in their love of Allah.”(Qur’an, 2: 165)

1. Making up past fasts

2. Fasts missed due to menstruation

3. Kaffara

It is obligatory to make up every single missed past, whether it was left legitimately (such as those due to menstruation, or serious sickness) or illegitimately.

The necessary expiation (kaffara) is best performed after having made up all missed fasts. [Shaykh Zada, Majma` al-Anhur] This is because making up missed fasts is more important.

Calculate how many missed fasts you have in your dues, and then take on a steady but manageable schedule to make them up.

Depending on your circumstances, fasting twice a week (such as on Mondays and Thursdays, in line with the example of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)) may be an option; or once a week… You may want to fast the ‘white days’ when the moon is full in the middle of the lunar month (13th, 14th, and 15th days of the lunar calendar), as this too is from the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

To motivate yourself, remember the tremendous merit and reward in fasting. Allah Most High told us, on the tongue of His Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that, “Fasting is for Me, and I shall reward for it.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

4. Du`a

There is no specific supplication for this, but it would be good to recite Surat al-Fatiha whenever you feel weak or disheartened. It is good to get a book of Prophetic supplications—available at any good Islamic online bookstore—and learn some of these beautiful expressions of slavehood, love, and thankfulness to Allah.

Faraz Rabban