I am sick and not able to fast, and if I fast it will harm me, do I have to do expiation or what should I do?
Translated by Rasheed Barbee
Answer: This needs some detail, if the sick person is likely to become healed and the doctors are saying if he gets the treatment it’s anticipated that he will be healed, then the fasting remains as a debt; the fasting remains as a debt until the sick person becomes healed then they should make the fast up.
But if the doctors have established that the sick person is not likely to be healed from this sickness, rather it is a permanent illness then he is like the elderly person who is not able to fast and therefore he should feed one poor person for every day missed of the fast.
The sick person that does not anticipated being healed from the sickness whether male or female should feed one poor person for every day missed, he should feed them half of a saaý (Approximately one and a half kilograms) of dates, or rice. (Or the food staple of that country) So he can gather the food in the beginning of the month or the end of the month and give it to one poor person or two poor people or more, it is not incumbent that he gives the food out daily, rather he can gather all of the food at one time and give it out to the poor.
This is for the sick person who does not anticipate being healed, a sickness that a doctor who is a specialist has stated that a cure is not anticipated. Or two competent vigilant doctors say verily this person is not likely to be healed rather this sickness is permanent; then this person feeds one sick person for every day missed.
So (for example) they will gather 15 saaý if the month of Ramadan last 30 days, 14 and half saaý if the month of Ramadan is 29 days, and give this food to some of the poor, they can give it to a poor household or to one poor person; and all praises belong to Allah.
But if they anticipate being cured and it is possible that they can be treated inshaAllah, then this person should delay his fast and when Allah cures him he should fast.
This is based upon the statement of Allah the Exalted, “and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number (of days which one did not observe the fast must be made up) from other days.” (Chapter 2 verse 185)
And this will remain a debt that he owes until Allah heals him, and then he should observe the fast even if it is after two or three years, and all praises belong to Allah.
Translator’s note: The sick person has to feed the poor a half saa for every day of the fast, therefore the Sheikh said they should gather 15 saa if the month is 30 days and 14 and a half saa if the month is 29 days.1/2 Saa = 1.5 kilogram so 15 Saa = 45 kg.
30 days = 30 Half Saa = 45 kg