Ramadân Series: Part 2 – The Categories Of People In Ramadân – Who Is Exempt, Who Must Make Up The Missed Days, Who Must Pay Fidyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

1) The prepubescent child

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said:

The prepubescent child is not obliged to fast until he reaches puberty. This is based on the saying of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم

رُفِعَ الْقَلَمُ عَنْ ثَلَاثَةٍ عَنْ الصَّغِيرِ حَتَّى يَبْلُغَ وَعَنْ النَّائِمِ حَتَّى يَسْتَيْقِظَ وَعَنْ الْمُصَابِ حَتَّى يُكْشَفَ عَنْهُ‏.

The Pen has been lifted from three: from the child until he reaches puberty, from the sleeper until he wakes up and from the insane until he regains his sanity.” (Musnad Imam Ahmad 940. Declared Sahîh by Ahmad Shâkir)

However it is recommended for his guardian to command him to fast in order to train him upon the obedience to his Lord before he reaches puberty, in attempt to follow the examples of the Salaf-us-Sâlih (pious predecessors). The prophets companions used to make their children fast; they would bring them to the Mosque along with some toys that were made of wool. When the children complained about being hungry and started to cry they would give them the toys in order to keep them busy [Sahîh Muslim 1136].

A boy becomes pubescent with one of these three signs:

The first: having a wet dream. The proof is Allâhs statement:

وَإِذَا بَلَغَ ٱلۡأَطۡفَٰلُ مِنكُمُ ٱلۡحُلُمَ فَلۡيَسۡتَـٔۡذِنُواْ كَمَا ٱسۡتَـٔۡذَنَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٞ ٩٥

And when the children among you reaches the wet dream (comes to puberty), then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age). Thus Allâh makes clear His Âyât (Commandments and legal obligations) for you. And Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Sûrah An-Nûr 24:59)

The second sign: growing pubic hair. This is based on the statement of ‘Âtiyyah Al-Qurathî that he reported:

كُنْتُ مِنْ سَبْىِ بَنِي قُرَيْظَةَ فَكَانُوا يَنْظُرُونَ فَمَنْ أَنْبَتَ الشَّعْرَ قُتِلَ وَمَنْ لَمْ يُنْبِتْ لَمْ يُقْتَلْ فَكُنْتُ فِيمَنْ لَمْ يُنْبِتْ

I was among the captives of Banû Quraydhah. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow pubic hair were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair. (Abû Dawûd 4404. Declared Sahîh by Al-Albânî)

The third sign: reaching the age of fifteen.

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عُرِضَهُ يَوْمَ أُحُدٍ وَهُوَ ابْنُ أَرْبَعَ عَشْرَةَ سَنَةً فَلَمْ يُجِزْهُ وَعُرِضَهُ يَوْمَ الْخَنْدَقِ وَهُوَ ابْنُ خَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ سَنَةً فَأَجَازَهُ

Ibn ‘Umar said: I was presented before the prophet (ﷺ) on the day of Uhud when I was fourteen years old, but he did not allow me (to participate in the battle). I was again presented before him on the day of Khandaq when I was fifteen years old, Then he allowed me. (Abû Dawûd 4406. Declared Sahîh by Al-Albânî)

قَالَ نَافِعٌ حَدَّثْتُ بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ، عُمَرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ فَقَالَ إِنَّ هَذَا الْحَدُّ بَيْنَ الصَّغِيرِ وَالْكَبِيرِ

Nâfi’ said: When I mentioned this tradition to ‘Umar ibn Abd al-Azîz he said : That is the dividing line between the age of minor and the major [i.e 15 years]. (Abû Dawûd 4407. Declared Sahîh by Al-Albânî)

For a female the same signs of puberty are applied with the addition of the monthly period. Therefore whenever a woman sees blood, she has reached puberty. Her pen of accountability will start running even if it is before the age of ten.


2) The insane person (one who has lost his mind)

Fasting is not obligatory upon him due to the aforementioned hadith ” the pen has been lifted from three…” from among the three is the insane person, until he comes back to his senses.

His fasting is invalid because he does not have an intellect to comprehend his worship or intend it. And worship is not accepted except with an intention – the proof is the prophets statement صلى الله عليه وسلم :

إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى،

Actions are considered based on their intentions, and a person will only get rewarded based on what he intends… (Sahîh Bukhârî 1)


3) The one who has reached the age of senility or mental infirmity

For these individuals neither fasting nor feeding is obligatory upon them, as they do not have the ability to distinguish between things. Thus resembling a child who has not reached the age of discernment.


4) The one who is in a state of perpetual disability [chronically ill], old person etc.. and are not able to fast

For example, a fragile old man or woman or one suffering from a terminal sickness such as cancer. For these individuals fasting is not obligatory upon them because they do not have the ability to fast.

Additionally, those who have to perform difficult jobs under harsh conditions (i.e coal miners) and who could not find any other way to support themselves, and as such cannot endure the additional burden of fasting. All of these people are allowed to break their fast, because such a practise would place too much hardship on them during any part of the year.

Allâh says:

لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَاۚ

Allâh does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear. (Sûrah Al-Baqarah 2:286)

However, it is a must for them to replace the daily fast with feeding a poor person everyday. You are given the choice of either giving each poor person a mudd [type of volumetric measurement] of food (i.e raw grains) which is one-fourth of prophetic sâ’ or you can cook the food and invite poor people according to the number of days that you have not fasted.

عَنْ عَطَاءٍ، سَمِعَ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، يَقْرَأُ ‏{‏وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطَوَّقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ‏}‏‏.‏ قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ لَيْسَتْ بِمَنْسُوخَةٍ، هُوَ الشَّيْخُ الْكَبِيرُ وَالْمَرْأَةُ الْكَبِيرَةُ لاَ يَسْتَطِيعَانِ أَنْ يَصُومَا، فَلْيُطْعِمَانِ مَكَانَ كُلِّ يَوْمٍ مِسْكِينً

‘Atâ narrated : That he heard Ibn ‘Abbâs reciting the Divine Verse:– “And for those who can fast with difficulty they have a choice either to fast, or feed a poor person for every day..” (2.184) Ibn ‘Abbâs said, “This Verse is not abrogated, it is meant for the old men and old women who are unable to fast, so they should feed one poor person for each day of fasting (instead of fasting). (Sahîh Bukhârî 4505)


5) The sick person whose sickness is hoped to be cured

For this individual there are 3 states:

The 1st state: if he is able to fast without any difficulties or harm then in this case it is obligatory upon him to fast. That is because he does not have a valid excuse which allows him to break his fast.

The 2nd state: if he is able to fast but with some difficulties, without the fear of harming himself by fasting, then he should break the fast. This is based on Allâhs statement:

وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٖ فَعِدَّةٞ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَۗ

and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. (Sûrah Al-Baqarah 2:185)

It is disliked for him to fast along with difficulty because by doing this he is leaving the ease which Allâh has given him and instead chooses to torture himself. The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

إن اللهَ يُحبُّ أن تُؤتَى رُخصُه كما يكرهُ أن تُؤتَى معصيتُه

Allâh loves that His concessions be taken just as He dislikes to be sinned against. (Declared Sahîh by Al-Albânì in Irwâ al-Ghalîl 564)

The 3rd state: If fasting actually harms him, then it is not permissible for him to fast based on Allâhs statement :

وَلَا تَقۡتُلُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمۡ رَحِيمٗا ٩٢

And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allâh is Most Merciful to you. (Sûrah An-Nisâ 4:29)

Also because of the prophets statement:

إنَّ لنفسِكَ عليكَ حقًّا

Verily your body has a right over you. (Sahîh Bukhârî 1968)

From amongst the rights of your body is that you should not harm yourself, but rather take Allâhs legislative concessions.


6) The women who is menstruating or undergoing post-natal bleeding

It is not permissible for her to fast, if she fasts her fast is invalid. This is due to the prophets statement:

أَلَيْسَ إِذَا حَاضَتْ لَمْ تُصَلِّ وَلَمْ تَصُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْنَ بَلَى‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَذَلِكَ مِنْ نُقْصَانِ دِينِهَا ‏

Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” (Sahîh Bukhârî 304)

The post-natal bleeding is similar to the menstrual bleeding – the same rulings are applied; she must make up the number of days that she has missed.

‘Âisha said:

 كَانَ يُصِيبُنَا ذَلِكَ فَنُؤْمَرُ بِقَضَاءِ الصَّوْمِ وَلاَ نُؤْمَرُ بِقَضَاءِ الصَّلاَةِ

We passed through this (period of menstruation), and we were ordered to complete the fasts, but were not ordered to complete the prayers. (Sahîh Muslim 335)


7) A nursing mother or a pregnant woman

The nursing mother or the pregnant woman who fears harm for herself or her baby due to fasting, then it is permissible to break the fast and pay the “ransom”. They do not have to make up the missed days.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى وَضَعَ شَطْرَ الصَّلاَةِ أَوْ نِصْفَ الصَّلاَةِ وَالصَّوْمَ عَنِ الْمُسَافِرِ وَعَنِ الْمُرْضِعِ أَوِ الْحُبْلَى

Allâh has remitted half the prayer to a traveller, and fasting to the traveller, the woman who is suckling an infant and the woman who is pregnant. (Abû Dawûd 2408. Declared Hasan Sahîh by Al-Albânî)

أَنَّ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ أُثْبِتَتْ لِلْحُبْلَى وَالْمُرْضِعِ

Ibn ‘Abbâs said “The verse concerning the payment of ransom [2:184] stands valid for pregnant and the suckling woman.” (Abû Dawûd 2317. Declared Sahîh by Al-Albânî)

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، ‏{‏ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ‏}‏ قَالَ كَانَتْ رُخْصَةً لِلشَّيْخِ الْكَبِيرِ وَالْمَرْأَةِ الْكَبِيرَةِ وَهُمَا يُطِيقَانِ الصِّيَامَ أَنْ يُفْطِرَا وَيُطْعِمَا مَكَانَ كُلِّ يَوْمٍ مِسْكِينًا وَالْحُبْلَى وَالْمُرْضِعُ إِذَا خَافَتَا – قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ يَعْنِي عَلَى أَوْلاَدِهِمَا – أَفْطَرَتَا وَأَطْعَمَتَا

Abdulláh ibn Abbâs said: Explaining the verse; “And for those who can fast with difficulty they have a choice either to fast, or feed a poor person for every day..” he said: This was a concession granted to the aged man and woman who were able to keep fast (but with difficulty); they were allowed to leave the fast and instead feed an poor person for each fast; (and a concession) to pregnant and suckling woman when they feared harm (to themselves or the baby) .

Abû Dawûd said: Meaning: “Fear for their children, then the two of them do not fast, and they feed. (Abû Dawûd 2318. Declared Sahîh by Shu’ayb Arnaût)

روي مالك في الموطأ أن عبد الله بن عمر سئل عن المرآة الحامل إذا خافت على ولدها و اشتد عليها الصيام فقال تفطر و تطعم مكان كل يوم مسكينا مدا من حنطة بمد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم

Mâlik narrated that he had heard that ‘Abdullâh ibn ‘Umar was asked about what a pregnant woman should do if the fast became difficult for her and she feared for her child, and he said, “She should break the fast and feed a poor man one mudd of wheat in place of every day, using the mudd of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم (Muwatta of Imâm Mâlik 683/596)


The above has been taken from Majâlis Sharh Ramadân, Sharh Umdah al-Hakam of Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn & Fiqh As-Sunnah of Sayyid Sâbiq.

Published by أبو زكريا عيسى الألباني

BSc (Hons) Microbiology | Qur'ān | Sunnah |

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