Question: What is the punishment for not fasting without a reason?
It is forbidden for a Muslim to skip the fast in Ramadan without the valid reasons that are approved by God. According to 184th and 185th verses of chapter Al-Baqarah, only travelers and sick people are allowed to postpone their fasting duties:
“(Fast) On the consecutive days. Whoever among you does not fast on those days because they are sick or on a journey, then (they should fast) the same number of days on other days. Those who are able to fast are also required to pay a fee (which is equivalent to the cost) for feeding a desperate person. Whoever volunteers to do good (which is paying more than bound to be paid), it is better for them. If only you knew how good it is for you to fast, you would (in spite of being sick or on a journey).
(The consecutive days are in) the month of Ramadan when the Quran, the Criterion which is a guide for humanity and which also includes the explanatory verses of that guide, was sent down. So, whoever among you witnesses that month must spend it fasting. Whoever is sick or on a journey may fast for the same number of days on other days. God desires ease for you. He does not desire difficulty. This ease is in order that you complete the number of days and (at the end of fasting) you glorify God (during the prayer of Eid) for guiding you to this and that you fulfill your duties towards Him.” (al-Baqarah 2:184-185)
God commands believers to spend the month of Ramadan -that is, the whole month- by fasting unless they are sick or on a journey. Anyone who does not have the intention (niyyah) to not fast has disobeyed this command of God. One who does not fast without a reason cannot compensate for the fasting of Ramadan by fasting any other days. It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
” مَنْ أَفْطَرَ يَوْمًا مِنْ رَمَضَانَ مِنْ غَيْرِ رُخْصَةٍ وَلاَ مَرَضٍ لَمْ يَقْضِ عَنْهُ صَوْمُ الدَّهْرِ كُلِّهِ وَإِنْ صَامَهُ ”
“Whoever breaks the fast on one day in Ramadan, with no concession and no sickness, fasting an entire lifetime will not make up for it, even if he fasts it.” (Bukhari, Sawm, 29; Tirmidhi, Sawm ,27; Ibn Majah, Siyam, 14; Darimi, Sawm, 18; Ahmad b. Hanbal, 2/458, 470.)
Yet, anyone who had done this without knowing God’s verses should repent, abandon this behavior, and ask God for forgiveness of the missed fasting. Anyone who has newly converted to Islam is similarly not responsible for making up the passed Ramadans.