Expiation in Ramadan: Paying Fidyah and Kaffarah Made Easy
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The blessed guest of Ramadan is just round the corner and we are all eagerly waiting to welcome it. One such preparation that we need to keep in mind is to make sure that we do not have any pending fasts from the previous years Ramadan. What if we have pending fasts?
Allah tells us in the Quran:
“Fasting is for a fixed number of days, and if one of you be sick, or if one of you be on a journey, you will fast the same number of other days later on. For those who are capable of fasting (but still do not fast) there is a redemption: feeding a needy man for each day missed. Whoever voluntarily does more good than is required, will find it better for him; and that you should fast is better for you, if you only know.” [Surah al-Baqarah, 184]
Fidyah is a charitable compensation for those who are not able to or exempted from fasting. From the above ayah, we learn that if Ramadan enters, and a person is unable to fast because he is elderly or sick with no hope of recovery, then he is not obliged to fast because he is unable to do so. Such a person should not fast and instead feed one poor person for each day of fasting that he has missed.
1. Those with no hope of recovery from an illness based on consultation with a qualified doctor or those who are very elderly. They do not have to make up the fasts that are missed. These people have to give fidyah and feed a poor person for every day of the fast that is missed.
2. Those that are currently ill but have a hope to recover soon. Such a person can stop fasting and make it up this missed fast later. There is no fidyah due on such a person.
There is a difference of opinion among the scholars regarding pregnant women and breastfeeding women. A person is advised to follow the opinion of a qualified scholar that they trust. The best opinion would be to pay the fidyah and be on the safe side instead of being held accountable.
Abdullah Ibn Abbas said: “If the pregnant woman fears for herself, or the breastfeeding woman for her child in Ramadan, then they are to break their fast and in place feed a poor person for each day and they are not to make up the missed days.” [Tabari]
Donations to this campaign will help donors fulfil the requirement of paying their fidyah and kaffarah and at the same time help feed zakat eligible families.
Calculating Fidyah and Kaffarah
Fidyah is to be paid for deliberately missing a fast with a permissible excuse. The amount paid for fidya for each missed fast is equivalent to feeding one poor person.
Kaffarah is to be paid if a person intentionally misses or breaks their fast without a valid reason or permissible excuse. The amount paid for kaffarah for each missed fast is equivalent to feeding 60 poor people.
Narrated Abu Hurairah: While we were sitting with the Prophet (ﷺ) a man came and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I have been ruined.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) asked what was the matter with him. He replied “I had sexual intercourse with my wife while I was fasting.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) asked him, “Can you afford to manumit a slave?” He replied in the negative. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) asked him, “Can you fast for two successive months?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked him, “Can you afford to feed sixty poor persons?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet (ﷺ) kept silent and while we were in that state, a big basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet (ﷺ) . He asked, “Where is the questioner?” He replied, “I (am here).” The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to him), “Take this (basket of dates) and give it in charity.” The man said, “Should I give it to a person poorer than I? By Allah; there is no family between its (i.e. Madinah’s) two mountains who are poorer than I.” The Prophet (ﷺ) smiled till his premolar teeth became visible and then said, ‘Feed your family with it.” [Bukhari]
The expiation is in this order of preference and one cannot move from one degree of it to the next unless one is unable to do the first option.
1 Saa‘ is a traditional volume of measure from the time of the Prophet. It is equal to four double-handfuls or approximately 3kgs. One double-handful is called a Mudd and is equivalent to approximately 675 grams of food which is sufficient for a day’s meal.
The amount of fidyah paid is 1 Mudd of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Each Mudd is used to pay for the missed day of fasting. Some scholars such as Imam Shafi’i and Imam Malik determined that the amount of the fidyah that must be paid to every poor person is 1 Mudd of wheat according to the size of the Prophet’s ﷺ mud.
1 Mudd = 675 Grams
1 Saa’ = 2.04 Kilograms or 3 Kilograms = 4 Mudds
Keeping in mind the difference of opinions in terms of the calculations, as per the Shariah Board of Rumah Zakat, one is considered to have legally paid their fidyah if one has fed one poor person for one day for a fast that is missed.
Fidyah: Number of Fast Missed x RM 13 (Price of 0.675 kg of food) = Amount of Fidyah Due
Kaffarah: 60 Poor People x RM 13 (Price of 0.675 kg of food) = RM 780
RM 13 includes staple food that feeds a poor person 3 meals for 1 day.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever relieves a Muslim of a burden from the burdens of the world, Allah will relieve him of a burden from the burdens on the Day of Judgement. And whoever helps ease a difficulty in the world, Allah will grant him ease from a difficulty in the world and in the Hereafter. And whoever covers (the faults of) a Muslim, Allah will cover (his faults) for him in the world and the Hereafter. And Allah is engaged in helping the worshipper as long as the worshipper is engaged in helping his brother.” [Tirmidhi]
Rumah Zakat is a charity organization that manages zakat and other other social funds through community empowerment programs with a focus on education, healthcare, economic empowerment, and environment.