بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
Question: I suffered from a serious disease in the last ten days of Ramadan, 1395 A.H. I broke the Sawm (Fast) for four days in this blessed month because of my sickness. I hoped that I could make up for these days when I restore my health, but I am still ill up to now and the coming Ramadan is about to start. I am unable to make up for these days and to fast the next Ramadan. Additionally, I am not sure that I will restore my health later. Would you please tell in writing what I should do and the cash value of feeding at present? If there are a few poor persons in our village, shall I repeat paying this value to these poor people?
Answer: If the case is as you have mentioned, you have to be patient until Allah cures you of your illness. You then can make up for the days you missed in the months of Ramadan. The basic rule in this respect is the Saying of Allah (Exalted be He): …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. Your uncertainty of recovery cannot be a basis for deciding that your healing is hopeless or set you free from liability for making up and permit you to the act of feeding the poor for the missed fasts. Rather, you should think good of Allah and hope for recovery while getting ready for the Hereafter. May Allah cure you of every disease and help you perform the obligations. When the doctors decide that your sickness which render you unable to fast is incurable, then you should feed one poor person for every day (past or coming) missed of Ramadan half a Sa‘ (1 Sa‘ = 2.172 kg) of the local staple food, dates or something else. If you give a poor person dinner or lunch for the number of days that you did not fast, that will be sufficient. As to paying in cash, it does not discharge the obligation. Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’
Most of the scholars, including the four imams, are of the view that the sick person is not allowed to break his fast in Ramadhan unless the sickness is severe.
What is meant by severe sickness is:
- The sickness will be made worse by fasting
- Recovery will be delayed by fasting
- Fasting will cause intense hardship, even if it does not make the sickness worse or delay recovery
- The scholars also included those who fear that they may become sick because of fasting.
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni (4/403): The kind of sickness in which it is permitted to break the fast is intense sickness which will be made worse by fasting or it is feared that recovery will be delayed. It was said to Ahmad: When can the sick person break his fast? He said, When he unable to fast. It was said, Such as a fever? He said, What sickness is worse than fever?
The healthy person who fears that he may become sick if he fasts is like the sick person who fears that his sickness may get worse, they are both permitted to break their fasts, because the sick person is permitted to break his fast because of the fear that his fasting may make his sickness worse and last for longer, and the fear that fasting may cause sickness is similar to that.
Al-Nawawi said: The person who is unable to fast because of a sickness which he hopes will go away is not obliged to fast… This applies if he encounters obvious difficulty in fasting and is not subject to the condition that he reaches a point when he is unable to fast. Rather our companions said: The permission not to fast is subject to the condition that fasting causes him difficulties that it is hard for him to bear.” al-Majmoo’, 6/261
Some of the scholars were of the view that it is permissible for every sick person to break his fast and that it is not essential that fasting cause them hardship. This is an odd view which was rejected by the scholars.
Al-Nawawi said: With regard to the person who is slightly sick and who does not suffer any obvious hardship, it is not permissible for him to break his fast, and there is no difference of opinion among us concerning that. Al-Majmoo’, 6/261
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: The sick person who is not affected by fasting, such as one who has a slight cold or headache, or a slight toothache and the like, is not permitted to break his fast. Even though some of the scholars allow that because of the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “…and whoever is ill …”[al-Baqarah 2:185], we say that the ruling mentioned in this verse is connected to a condition, which is when breaking the fast will relieve him of hardhsip, but if fasting does not affect him, then it is not permissible for him to break the fast, and he has to fast. Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 6/352
Question: I have diabetes typeII wich is NIDM non insuline depend diabetes, I don’t use any medicine, I only controll diet and I do litle phisical exercise to keep in right level of my sugar(blood). I have this decease one year and two monhts. Last Ramadan I fasted some days but I could n’t continue do to my low level of sugar(blood). This year I feel good (Alhamdu Lillah)I ONLY feel pain in my brain during fasting!? So my question is, is it my DUTY to fast dispite my desease? Can test my blood during fasting times; “causing blood to come from my fingers”?
Answer: It is prescribed for sick people not to fast in Ramadaan, if fasting will cause harm or make the sickness worse, or if they need treatment during the day in the form of medicine or pills that must be swallowed, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days” [al-Baqarah 2:185]
And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Allaah loves people to avail themselves of His concessions (rukhsah) just as He hates them to commit sin.” According to another version, “As He loves His commands to be obeyed.”
With regard to taking blood from veins for testing etc., the correct view is that this does not break the fast, but if it is done often, it is better to leave it until night-time. If it is done during the day then to be on the safe side that day should be made up, because this is akin to cupping.” (Fatwa of Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), from Fataawa Islamiyyah, vol. 2, p. 139)
Sickness is of various kinds:
- That which does not affect the fast, such as a light cold or mild headache or toothache, and the like. In this case it is not permissible to break the fast, even though some of the scholars permitted that because of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “and whoever is ill…”[al-Baqarah 2:185]. But we say that this ruling is based on a reason, which is that not fasting is easier. If that is the case, then we would say that not fasting is better, but if fasting does not have an effect on him then it is not permissible to break the fast, and he has to fast.
- If fasting is difficult for the sick person, but it does not harm him, then it is makrooh for him to fast and it is Sunnah for him to break his fast.
- If fasting is difficult for him and will cause him harm, such as a man who has kidney disease or diabetes and similar cases where fasting will cause harm. In this case fasting is haraam. Hence we may see that some mujtahids and sick people make a mistake when fasting is difficult for them and may harm them, but they refuse to break their fast. We say that they are mistaken because they refuse to accept the kindness of Allaah and the concession that He has given to them, and they are harming themselves, although Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And do not kill yourselves”[al-Nisa’ 4:29]. al-Sharh al-Mumti’ by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, vol. 6, 352-254.