People Exempt From Fasting

By Yasir Qadhi

Video can be found here

Who is exempt from fasting? Once we ask this question, we have to realize that the default is that everyone must fast unless they are among the following type of people:
• Mentally incapable

• Children – They have to be adults and in Islam, an adult is one who has reached puberty and is between the ages of 11-14.

• Women who are in their monthly cycles and who are still suffering from the bleedings from childbirth – Unlike children who are allowed to fast and they and their parents get rewarded for it, these women are not allowed to fast; it is actually forbidden for them to do so. They need to make it up after their period is over and that obligation takes place as soon as they have the discharge that finishes their period.

• The travelers – What is travel? It is whatever your culture considers travel, so commuting to work doesn’t mean travel, but rather if you’re going to another town, city, state, or country, etc. If the travel is easy, that doesn’t mean you have to fast; Allah made this religion easy and you can do whatever’s easy for you. Just realize it’s not extra piety for you to fast while traveling, as the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) stated in a Hadith.

Suppose you have a flight at 5 and the Iftar is at 6 – you have to fast while you’re still in the city until 5 and since you have only an hour until you have to break the fast, then it is better for u to fast. If u have a difficult travel, then it’s better for you not to fast and to make it when u get home.

• Sickness – By sickness, it means the type that if you fast, the sickness get worse. The sickness doesn’t have to be life-threatening or severe, but just one that would be impacted by the fast. There are two categories of sickness:

• Temporary sickness – This includes sicknesses such as fever and such. They don’t have to feed the poor but they have to make up the fast when once they feel fine.

• Permanent sickness – This includes diabetes, cancer, and other types of sicknesses that remain permanently. A permanent sickness can also mean one who is very old and weak. For these people, they should give food to a poor person per day. They can give a meal per day or they can calculate all the 29/30 meals and give them all out on day. It is also permissible to feed one person 30 meals and it’d be ok. The best thing to give is food and the type of food that should be given is what is regular according to your culture; If chicken and rice are a normal meal, then that is what you should give. However, if that is considered a luxury in that culture, then that definitely is not what you have to give. You should basically give staple food – in some cultures, its chicken and rice and for others, its lentils and bread. As there is no end to these sicknesses, these people do not have to make up the fast.

• Pregnant women and breastfeeding women – Muslim sisters, realize firstly that just because you’re pregnant or breastfeeding doesn’t get you off the hook. Only if you feel that the fast will make it difficult on you or that a Muslim reputable doctor tells you that the fast will have adverse consequences on you or your child, then you’re exempt from the fasting. There is difference of opinion on whether they should feed someone or if they should make it up for that missed fast – my personal opinion is that they should make it up.