Fasting in the month of Ramadhan is a fundamental pillar and compulsory act of worship. In the Quran, Allah commands:
The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you; and (He desireth) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful.
In our day to day lives there are circumstances where people do not (or) cannot fast, for them Allah has given a relief in the form of Fidyah and Kaffarah.
(Fast) a certain number of days; and (for) him who is sick among you, or on a journey, (the same) number of other days; and for those who can afford it there is a ransom: the feeding of a man in need - but whoso doeth good of his own accord, it is better for him: and that ye fast is better for you if ye did but know –
In simple terms, just as fasting in Ramadhan is compulsory, so is Qada, Fidyah and Kaffarah for the fasts missed in Ramadhan.
Fidya and kaffara are two solutions offered that can help a Muslim compensate for not fasting or breaking other obligations—paying of fidya or kaffara also benefits members of the community who live in impoverished conditions. Here we briefly explain the difference between the two.
Fidyah is a paid by individuals who cannot fulfil the obligation of fasting due to valid reasons which include:
Fidyah is to be paid if you missed your fasting due to a valid reason and are unable to make up the lost days due to the above reasons. Fidyah is meant to feed a miskeen ( person in need ) for each day of fasting missed. Fidyah is Equal to 2 meals for one person (or) 1 meal each for two people. Depending on where you live this amount would vary. For Singapore we believe this amount to be close to $10 per day of fasting missed. As this amount should be sufficient to feed a person two basic meals. However, there is no harm, if you wish to increase this amount based on your average cost per meal. So if someone missed the whole of Ramadhan and is unable to fast then the fidyah would be $300.
Kaffarah is meant for muslims who delidrately missed or break a day of fast during ramadhan without a valid reason. If a person unnecessarily misses or breaks a fast, he/she should fast for 60 consecutive days, followed by the number of days he/she had missed (or) feed 60 masakeen ( persons in need ) per day. This would work out to $600 for every day of not fasting deliberately. Some of the reasons for kaffarah would be:
Kaffarah may also be given for Broken oaths or promises.
“Allah will not call you to account for what is futile (lagw) in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths.” (al-Ma’ida, 89)
The method of the expiation of an oath has been mentioned by Allah Most High in the following verse:
“For expiation, feed ten poor persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation (kaffara) for the oaths you have sworn.” (al-Ma’ida, 89)
In these cases 10 masakeen ( persons in need ) should be fed for each occurance. The amount would equate to $100 per broken oath / promise. If the donor is from a low-income family, and cannot afford the payment, it is recommended that he or she should fast for three days, and make sure to “protect your oath,” meaning he or she should stay true to his or her word going forward.
There are some situations that invalidate the fast, but only repayment of the qada fast is required. These are mainly situations that are out of one’s control.
Some examples of situations that invalidate the fast and repayment of the fast have been listed below:
There are, of course, many other things that could go under each category, as this list is not exhaustive. It is advised that you consult with your local imam for more detailed enquiries.