Someone from Jordan asked Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, whether a woman during her menstruation is obliged to give fidyah for not fasting. If some fasts are missed due to any excuse, is it necessary to make them up under all circumstances, or are these fasts annulled after a certain period? For example, if a person is ill and cannot fast for two years, is it necessary to fast for all the past days after recovering? How can a pregnant or nursing woman who cannot fast during Ramadan for two years or more make up for these fasts? Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 16 May 2022, provided the following guidance on this matter:
“The onset of menstruation is a natural physiological condition for women. The Holy Quran has deemed it a state of discomfort for them. (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.223) In this state, Allah the Exalted has granted women a reprieve from all forms of worship. Utilising this dispensation granted by Allah Almighty is indeed the true act of obedience and is also reward-bearing. Therefore, making up for the fasts of Ramadan that could not be observed due to menstruation is sufficient; there is no obligation to offer a fidyah. However, if a woman has the means to give fidyah and desires to give it willingly as an additional act of virtue, there is no prohibition against this. One of the reasons for giving fidyah is also to gain the ability and opportunity to fast; as the Promised Messiahas has said, ‘Once [this question] occurred to me as to why fidya had been constituted. Then, I realised that it is so ordained to [invoke God to] create favourable circumstances [tawfiq] for one to be able to fast.’ (Al Hakam, No. 44, Vol. 6, 10 December 1902, p. 9)
“As for the fasts that are missed for some valid excuse, they must be made up later, as this is the Quranic command, as it states:
“‘Therefore, he who witnesses this month, being stationary and in health, should fast through it. But whoso is ailing, not being permanently incapacitated, or is on a journey, should complete the reckoning by fasting on a corresponding number of other days. Allah desires ease for you and desires not hardship for you; He has granted you this facility so that you should encounter no hardship in completing the reckoning, and that you may exalt Allah for His having guided you and that you may be grateful to Him.’ (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.186)
“Therefore, it is obligatory to make up for the fasts of Ramadan after the valid excuse has ceased. But if someone becomes so afflicted that they cannot make up for these fasts even later, then Allah the Exalted has guided them towards the payment of fidyah as per their capacity, as it is stated:
“‘And for those who find fasting a strain hard to bear is an expiation, the feeding of a poor person, if they can afford it.’ (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.186)
“Regarding the compensation for missed fasts after the justifiable reason has ceased and the payment of fidyah, the Promised Messiahas stated:
“‘Fidyah may only be contemplated in the case of a frail elder [shaykh fani] or the likes, who lack the necessary strength to ever complete a fast. Otherwise, for general people, who regain health and become capable of fasting again, the contemplation of merely offering fidyah would equate to ushering in a complete laxity in religious observance. In our view, a faith devoid of personal striving [mujahadah] holds no significance. Absolving ourselves of the responsibilities bestowed upon us by God in this way is a grave sin. Allah the Exalted has said that He will guide only those who strive in His path [Surah al-‘Ankabut, Ch.29: V.70].’ (Badr, No. 43, Vol. 6, 24 October 1907, p. 3)
“So, in essence, if some fasts of Ramadan are left due to some valid excuse, these should be made up after the excuse has ceased, and if one has the ability, fidyah may also be paid for not being able to fast during Ramadan.
“If someone permanently lacks the strength to make up for these fasts, then according to the verse لَا يُکَلِّفُ اللّٰہُ نَفۡسًا اِلَّا وُسۡعَہَا ‘Allah burdens not any soul beyond its capacity.’ (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.287), such a person will be considered excused in the sight of Allah the Exalted. If they have the strength to pay fidyah in lieu of these fasts, then they should do so, and if they do not even possess the ability to pay fidyah, they will still be deemed excused in this matter in the sight of Allah the Exalted. The same rule will apply to pregnant and nursing women.
“If a person has missed fasts for more than one Ramadan month due to a legitimate excuse and, subsequently, Allah blesses them with the ability to fast after the removal of this excuse, they should strive to make up for these missed fasts gradually, to the best of their ability. Nevertheless, there exist divergent interpretations concerning the observance of missed fasts spanning more than one Ramadan year. Some Islamic jurists maintain that missed fasts from prior years cannot be observed in subsequent years. However, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has provided different guidance on this matter. He advises:
“‘I wish to counsel the Community that those members who did not observe all the fasts of Ramadan should make them up and complete them later, regardless of whether these fasts were missed due to negligence, illness, or travel. Similarly, if they have missed any fasts in the past years due to negligence or any religiously justified excuse, they should also endeavour to complete them before standing before Allah Almighty, so they can be absolved. Some jurists hold the belief that missed fasts from the previous year cannot be observed in the following year. However, I hold a different view on this matter. If someone was unable to fast due to ignorance, then ignorance can be forgiven. However, if they intentionally chose not to fast, similar to intentionally missing a prayer, there is no option or provision to make up for it [qadha]. On the other hand, if they missed a fast due to forgetfulness or an error in legal reasoning, I believe they can make it up, and it is preferable for them to do so. Yes, if they could have fasted but deliberately chose not to, then there is no qadha. When they repent, their deeds will start afresh. However, if they did not fast due to negligence, a mistake resulting from flawed reasoning, or illness, I believe that regardless of how far back these fasts date, they can still be made up.’ (Al-Fazl, No. 55, Vol. 50-51, 8 March 1961, pp. 2-3)”