The Remaining Categories of People in Fasting and the Rulings of Making up the Fast
Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saleh Bin ‘Uthaymeen
My brothers: We have talked about seven different categories of people in fasting and these are the remaining categories.
Eighth: The menstruating woman. She is not allowed to fast as the Prophet (SAW) said, “I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. 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.” (Agreed upon)
If a woman begins menstruation even a moment before sundown, then that fast does not count. She is to make up that fast on a different day.
If the woman becomes pure from the menstruation during the day, she cannot begin the fast for the rest of the day because fasting starts after Fajr. But should she stop eating the rest of the day? There is a difference of opinion which we spoke about when we spoke about the traveler. If the woman becomes pure during the night, even if it is an instance before Fajr, then she must fast that day. She also has to make up the days that she missed, as Allah (SWT) says, “the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later” and ‘Aisha was asked, “What is the case of the fasting woman, she makes up for the missed fast and not for the missed prayer? She said: “When we had our periods at the time of the Messenger of Allah, we were ordered to make up the missed fasts, and we were not ordered to make up the missed prayers.” (Muslim)
Ninth: A pregnant or nursing woman who fears harm to herself or to her child. She should not fast according to the hadeeth of Anis bin Malik (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Allah has relieved the travelers of fasting and half of the prayer, and the pregnant and the breast-feeding women of the fast.” She is to make up these days that she missed as soon as the situation allows for it.
Tenth: A person who must rescue someone else’s life. For example, from fire, drowning, etc. If they have to eat in order to save the person’s life, then it is obligatory on them to eat and to make up the day at a later time.
An example of this is a person fighting in the way of Allah. This person may eat and make up the fast later. Regardless if they are in their own country or traveling, they break the fast wherever they meet the enemy. Because this is protection for the Muslims, and it is making the word of Allah (SWT) the highest. Abu Saeid Al-Khudri (RA) said, “We traveled with the Messenger of Allah to Makkah while we were fasting. We stopped at a place and the Messenger of Allah said: ‘You are coming close to your enemies. You will be stronger if you break the fast.’ That was a concession and some of us fasted and some of us broke our fasts. Then we came to another place and the Prophet said:
‘In the morning you will face your enemy. Breaking the fast will give you more strength.’ So we broke our fast, taking that as the best course of action.” (Muslim) This hadeeth shows that having strength to fight is a reason to break the fast, the Prophet (SAW) didn’t order them to break the fast at the first stop, but he ordered them at the next stop when they were close to the enemy.
Whoever from the mentioned categories that breaks their fast, it isn’t disliked for them to display that they aren’t fasting as long as the reason is an obvious reason like sickness or old age. But if the reason is something hidden like menstruation, then they should eat in private and not display that they are not fasting. This could be a reason for an ignorant person to think it is permissible for them to break the fast as well.
Whoever it is upon them to make up the days, then they should make up the exact number of days they missed. If they didn’t fast the entire month then they should make up the entire month. If the month was 30 days that year, then they make up 30. If the month was 29 days, then they make up 29. It is best to make up the days as soon as the person is able to, because it is racing to do good.
It is permissible to delay making up the days until there is between them and the following Ramadhan the amount of days they have to make up. As Allah says, “the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later, Allah wants to make things easy for you and not make them hard” From this easiness is that it is permissible to delay even if they need to make up ten days, and there is only ten days between them and the next Ramadhan.
It is not permissible to wait until the next Ramadhan without making up the days missed. As ‘Aisha (RA) said, “There used to be days I had to make up from Ramadhan, and I wasn’t able to make them up except in Sha’ baan.” (Bukhari) Just like prayer, you cannot delay the first until the next. If the reason for not fasting continues until the next Ramadhan then there is nothing wrong with that. If the person dies than his family can make up the days for them. As the Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever dies and they have days that they have to fast, then his family fasts for them.” (Agreed upon)
His family is his inheritors or relatives. It is permissible for them to fast together with the number of days that the person needed to make up in just one day. As is related by Bukhari, that Al Hassin said, “If 30 people fasted for them on one day, it is allowed.” His relatives can also feed a poor person for everyday that was missed if they do not wish to fast.
My brothers: These categories of people are from the Shariah of Allah. For every category is its own solution based on the situation, so know the rulings of your Lord from the Shariah. And thank Allah’s blessing on you for making things easy.