Islam and the Quran

What should the sick, the old and the ones who cannot endure to fast do?

Question: What should the utterly old, sick or weak people who cannot endure to fast in Ramadan do?

The Glorified Allah permits the sick and the traveler not to fasten and besides, commands: “… But to fast is better for you, if you only knew.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:184)

In another verse He commands: “…Allah does not impose upon anybody a duty but to the extent of its ability.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:286)

Since the Glorified Allah notifies that fasting would be better for the sick and the travelers, it is concluded that they have the strength to fasten. The reason for the permission not to fast is already explained in Al-Baqarah, 185 as follows:
“Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty.”

People who are too weak to fasten, either old, sick or otherwise, cannot count amongst the people who Allah charges to fasten. These are not similar to people who “would better fasten”. The hadiths narrated from our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) about pregnant and breast-feeding women prove the situation of these people:
Undoubtedly Allah has relieved the travelers of fasting and half of the prayer, and the pregnant and the breast-feeding women of the fast.” [1] (Abu Dawud, Sawm: 43, Tirmidhi, Sawm: 21; Ibn Majah Sıyam: 12)

Our Prophet has not charged these people to pay the fidyah, either. Because the fidyah mentioned in the verse Al-Baqarah 2:184 is the payment of fitra.[2] These people do not need to pay the fitra since they cannot endure to fast. The expression, ‘pregnant and breast-feeding women’ should be clarified. Not all of these women are identical from Islamic point of view. If they fear that they or their infants will probably be harmed by fasting, they can be treated as sick. In this case, the following hadith of our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) applies:
Narrated by Anas Ibn Malik:
“The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) has permitted the pregnant women who fear for themselves and the breast-feeding women who fear for their infants not to fast in Ramadan. ” (Ibn Majah, Siyam, 12)
Pregnant or breast-feeding women in this situation, make up their fast later as different from the others above.

Follow the link below to read our research on fidyah for the fasting:

[1] There is a problem in the text of this hadith. Since the traveler is not relieved of fasting, the word ‘fasting’ must have been added to the hadith by the narrator (The hadith is mudraj ). Because, Allah has not relieved travelers of fasting but only permitted them to make up fasting later. The hadith must be  as follows: “Undoubtedly Allah has relieved the travelers of half of the prayer, and the pregnant and the breast-feeding women of the fast.

[2] The payment of fitra mentioned in this expression is the daily subsistence money of a person that is explained in the surah At-Tawba/The Repentance 9:60.

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