Expiatory Fasts: Time of Intention and How Many Are Due

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: If one makes an intention to offer expiatory fast for a transgression committed in Ramadan is it valid before fajr ?

Also, one or two hours before fajr if one is worried due to misgivings (waswasa) that his intention wasn’t correct, is it ok if he says the intention on the tongue ?

If one ate and drank in Ramadan in different days but in the same month is one expiatory fast sufficient ?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

[1] It is a condition for the validity of the expiatory fast (kaffarah) or make up (qada’) fast that you make the intention before dawn (fajr). The intention is to simply know what you are doing tomorrow. Ignore misgivings.

[2] One expiation is sufficient. However, you must also make up the days in which you invalidated the fast. See: Must I Fast 180 Days as Expiation for 3 Broken Fasts?

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Violating a Promise to Allah

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: It is a very low point of life but still I am doing well. Some misunderstandings arose between me and my dear friend. I wrote a letter to Allah mentioning the situation and said that I promise you Allah to never to use a social networking site, where me and my friend interacted the most, until things got better between us. My friend has wronged me and I want to teach her a lesson by being totally out of her surroundings. I wanted her to miss me and hopefully, realize the mess she has created for our friendship. I promised this to Allah only to keep myself strong. Few days after, I realized that it is actually nonsensical to do so. Therefore, I started to use that site again. My question here is that: do I need to do Kaffara for breaking the promise that I made to Allah. The guilt is killing me.

Answer: Wa’alaikum assalaam warahamtu Allah,

Promising to Allah is not an explicit oath but may be used to express an oath if coupled with an intention to do so.

Therefore, if you intended by your promise an oath, then it would be an effective oath and you would have to pay kaffarah for violating it. However, if you intended it to be simply a promise, then there is no kaffarah for it. If you had no intention, or are unsure, then it would not be considered an oath either, going back to its original usage. (Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtar)

Kaffarah for a broken oath is 1- to feed ten people, two meals each or 2- to clothe them with decent clothing.

Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Making of Missed Fast


Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


Question: I missed some fasts because I was breastfeeding. I was not able to make them up before the next Ramadan because I was still breastfeeding. Do I need to pay an expiation because I have not made them up before the next Ramadan?



Answer:   By clear texts of the Qur’an and Sunna, and consensus of the scholars, it would be obligatory to make up those missed fasts–gradually, without undergoing hardship.


In the Hanafi school, a nursing woman unable to fast is obligated to make up the missed days, but does not have to give any type of expiation (fidya). [Ibn Abidin/Haskafi, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar].


In general, no expiation is needed for delaying making up one’s unperformed fasts until the next Ramadan comes in.


This is because it is not obligatory to make up one’s fasts immediately. [Halabi, Multaqa al-Abhur; Marghinani, al-Hidaya]. It is, however, recommended to make up one’s fasts as soon as possible, in order to clear one’s debt to Allah. [Shaykh Zada, Majma` al-Anhur Sharh Multaqa al-Abhur, 1.250; Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir, 2.354-355]


The reason it is not obligatory to make up one’s fasts immediately is because Allah’s command, namely His saying, “…and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (then fast the same) number of other days” [Qur’an, 2.185], is unconditioned, and the purport of unconditioned texts is decisive until another decisive text conditions it. [Mahbubi, al-Tawdih; Marghinani/Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir Sharh al-Hidaya, 2.354-355]


Thus, all we have been commanded to do is to fast any same “number of other days” to clear our debt.


However, one should be careful because if one dies without having taking reasonable means to make up the fasts–such that one’s delay was unexcusable–then one would be considered sinful. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar] One should keep track of unmade-up fasts and make arrangements for expiation payments to be given from the discretionary third of one’s wealth upon death, in case one dies unexpectedly, as death is wont to happen.



Faraz Rabbani