Fasting for the Pregnant, Nursing, and Elderly

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

There are two renowned topics regarding this issue:


The First:


When pregnant and nursing women break their fast, what is upon them?


Concerning this matter, scholarship has four views:


First: They feed and it is not upon them to make up the missed days of fasting. This view has been reported on Ibn Umar and Ibn Abbaas.


Second: They only make up the missed days of fasting without feeding. This is in direct contrast with the first view, and this is the view of Abu Haneefah, his companions, Abu Ubaid, and Abu Thawr.


Third: They make up the missed days of fasting and feed. This is the view of ash-Shaafi'ee.


Fourth: The pregnant woman makes up the missed days of fasting and does not feed. The nursing woman makes up the missed days of fasting and feeds. This is a view of Maalik in one of the two narrations reported on him. The second view reported on him is that there is no expiation upon her.


The cause for their varying views is the pregnant and the nursing having similarities to the one who can fast with difficulty and the one who is ill. So the one who resembles the two of them to the one that is ill states, “It is only upon her to make up the missed days of fasting.” And the one who resembles the two of them to the one who can fast with difficulty states, “It is only upon the two of them to feed.” The evidence for this is the recitation of the one who recites,


“It is for the one who can do so with difficulty to pay the ransom of feeding the needy.”


Soorah al-Baqarah(2):184


Subsequently, most of the scholars state that this verse carries its apparent meaning which is those who have the ability to fast must pay the ransom if they do not fast. In the beginning of Islam, the people had the choice to select this or that option. Then this was abrogated by His statement, the Exalted,


“So whoever amongst you witnesses the month, it is upon him to fast it.”


Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 185


As for the individual who applies joining between both affairs to the pregnant and the nursing, he believes that both cases resemble them from perspectives. He states, “It is upon them to make up the missed days of fasting from the perspective that both of them resemble one who is ill, and it is upon them to present the ransom from the perspective that both of them resemble the one who can fast with difficulty.” He further states, “The two of them resemble the one who is healthy and breaks his fast.” However, this view is weak since it is not permissible for a healthy person to break his fast.


As for the individual who separates between the pregnant and the nursing, he adjoins the pregnant with the one who is ill, and the verdict of the nursing remains as a combination between the verdict of the ill and the verdict of the one who can fast with difficulty. Or he resembles both of them to the one who is healthy.


Consequently, the one who grants one of these verdicts to one of the two of them is more logical, and Allah knows best, than the one who combines between the two of them; just as applying the verdict of making up the missed days of fasting is more logical than applying the verdict of feeding alone. This is due to the fact that this recitation is not widely accepted. So contemplate upon this for it is lucid.


The Second:


As for the elderly who do not have the ability to fast, there is a consensus that they can break their fast. The varying views are concerning what is upon them once they do break their fast.


Understanding this, there is a party who says it is upon them to feed while another party says it is not upon them to feed. The first is the view of ash-Shaafi'ee, Abu Haneefah, and Ahmad whilst the second is the view of Maalik. However, Maalik still holds the view that it is highly recommended to feed.


The majority of the party who holds the view of it being upon them to feed state that they feed the amount of a Mudd (i.e. 0.75L) for every day. This is the view of Maalik, ash-Shaafi'ee, and Ahmad. It has also been stated that if one gives the amount of some handfuls as Anas would do then this suffices. The cause for their varying views is their differing concerning the recitation that we have mentioned. I mean by this the recitation of the one who recites,


“It is for the one who can do so with difficulty to pay the ransom of feeding the needy.”


Soorah al-Baqarah(2):184


So whoever obligates acting in accordance with a recitation that is not established in the Mushaf if it has been reported from a route of singular narrators with credibility, this person will say the elderly is from amongst those who fast with difficulty. And whoever does not obligate acting in accordance with this will make the verdict the same as an individual suffering from a chronic illness.


Note: Regarding the verse, “It is for the one who can do so with difficulty to pay the ransom of feeding the needy.”


Soorah al-Baqarah(2):184


The translation of the most common recitation of this verse is, “It is for those who have the ability to do so to pay the ransom.” The implication though is the assumed understanding of the phrase “do not”. So the actual meaning is, “It is for those who do not have the ability to do so to pay the ransom.” Or the meaning is, “It is for those who have the ability to do so, but with great difficulty, to pay the ransom.”


That which testifies to this second meaning is the recitation of those who recite the recitation that translates as, “those who are made to have the ability.” The meaning here is those who are responsible for the act yet do not have the ability to perform it. This recitation, however, is neither from the ten modes of recitation nor is it from the obscure recitations. This was the sole recitation of Ibn Abbaas.


Source: Bidaaytul Mujtahid wa Nihaayatul Muqtasid

49 views

Contact us at:

consulting.ingram@gmail.com

Follow Us

  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

© Copyright 2020 by Kenneth Ingram II. All rights reserved. 

 Proudly created by Coach Gaines