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Atonement for not fasting

By: Bayynat editor

O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil). For a certain number of days; but whoever among you is sick or on a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days; and those who are not able to do it may effect a redemption by feeding a poor man; so whoever does good spontaneously it is better for him; and that you fast is better for you if you know.”(02:183-184).

Allah has called upon His believing servants to attain the highest ranks by performing the duty of fasting. Fasting is a religious obligation that has been imposed all believers. It is an act of high significance that all previous prophets and messengers were committed to it. Fasting ought not to be regarded as an act that complicated one’s life, but as one that shields believers from fire as it is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (p.) said: “Observe fasting, as it would safeguard you from Hellfire.”

In addition, fasting grants people an abode in heaven, for he (p.) said: “There is a gate to Paradise called Ar-Rayyan that only those who fasted will pass through it, and once the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.”Allah promised to reward the duty of fasting with endless resources as narrated in His saying: “All the work of a son of Adam belongs to himself, except fasting; it is for Me only, and only I will give its reward.”

Allah has decreed the fasting days to be few in numbers, and exempted the traveler, the sick, and those who are terribly exhausted and weakened by fasting from this duty.

As for the last category, those who are terribly exhausted and become extremely feeble upon fasting, Allah has ordained a certain act of atonement for Allah says: “And those who are not able to do it may affectredemption by feeding a poor man.”

This atonement is called “Fidya” and it is obligatory in the following cases:

(The following are in accordance to “Islamic Rulings” by His Eminence, Sayyed Fadlullah (ra))

a)      Elderly people and the excessively thirsty people who did not fast because it is difficult, not because it is impossible or harmful to them.

b)      The breastfeeding or pregnant woman who is at the end of her pregnancy and near to giving birth and the breastfeeding woman who has little milk if fasting may be harmful to the embryo or the baby being breastfed.

c)      Whoever has delayed the qada’ of the previous month of Ramadan until the next Ramadan arrives, whether out of complcanecy or the inability to do so, or if this is due to the continuation of illness which prevented him from fasting the previous Ramadan, even if he was able to fast then he fell ill or travelled and this continued until the next Ramadan arrived, as an obligatory precaution.

d)     If the illness that prevented fasting and its qada’ lasted for years, the fidya is obligatory at the end of every year in which the person could not fast for Ramadan or carry out the qada’ for that, even if this continues all his life. However, if he delayed the qada’ of one Ramadan for several years, only one fidya is obligatory and that is at the end of the first year when he delayed the qada’ until the second.

e)      The amount of fidya for one day is three quarters of a kilogram for feeding one poor individual; however, one and a half kilos is better.

f)       If the pregnant woman who is at the end of her pregnancy and near to giving or the breastfeeding woman did not fast out of fear or harm to the newborn and delayed the qada’ until the next Ramadan arrived, she must pay two fidya: one because she did not fast, fearing for her child, and the second for delaying the qada’.

“O Allah, help us during its daytime with its fast, and in its night with prayer and pleading toward Thee, humility toward Thee, and lowliness before Thee, You are the All-Hearing, the Responsive.”