Kaffarah (Expiation) for Breaking the Fast
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (183
Kaffarah (Expiation) for Breaking the Fast
Question: What are the things that invalidate the fast of Ramadan and entail kaffarah (expiation)? ANSWER
They are as follows:
1. To eat or drink while one knows that one is fasting
2. To have sexual intercourse
3. If a person who did something that necessitates only qada (making up for a missed fast; observing another fast in lieu of the broken fast) on one day of Ramadan does the same thing purposely on another day of Ramadan, it also necessitates kaffarah (expiation that is made by freeing a slave or fasting for 60 consecutive days or feeding 60 needy people).
4. To smoke a cigarette
5. To eat or drink consciously after such things as backbiting, applying kohl, or getting blood drawn on the assumption that the fast has been broken
Question: Is there any kaffarah (expiation) for breaking the fast?
Certainly there is. It is written all Islamic books that expiation becomes obligatory upon one who intentionally breaks one's fast for which one made intention at night. It is written in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud,Tirmidhi, and Nasai, which are of the six famous works of hadithcalled Kutub-i Sitta. Whoever disbelieves these five most precious works of hadith is either ignorant or treacherous, if not a missionary. The pertinent hadith-i sharif narrated by Abu Huraira is as follows:
"A person came to our master the Prophet and said, 'O the Messenger of Allah, I am ruined.' Our master the Prophet asked what happened. He said that he had broken the Ramadan fast intentionally. Our master the Prophet told him to free a slave. When he said that he had no slave, he ordered him to fast for two months incessantly. When he said that he was unable to do so, he told him to feed poor people."
Therefore, Islamic scholars state that one who breaks, without justification, the fast for which one made intention at night must manumit a slave. If it is not possible, one must fast for 60 consecutive days. If it is not possible either, one must feed 60 poor people. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
A person who does not accept a rule stated by our master the Prophet is considered to have rejected the commandment of Allahu ta'ala, for it is declared in the Qur'an al-karim:
(Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah.) [Surat-un-Nisa 80]
Question: How is the kaffarah (expiation) for the fast performed?
As expiation for breaking the fast, one fasts successively for 60 days. After 60 days, one makes qada for each day one did not fast. One who has debts of kaffarah for several past Ramadans or who has two days each requiring a kaffarah for the same Ramadan makes only onekaffarah for both if one has not made kaffarah for the first one. But if one has made the first kaffarah, one makes the second one, too.
If the fast of kaffarah is broken for excusable reasons, such as illness and travel, or because it is intervened by days of Eid or by Ramadan, it is necessary to fast for 60 days anew. If one does not break it on days of Eid, one still has to begin anew. If a woman breaks it because of menstrual or postnatal bleeding, she does not begin it anew. She completes it to 60 when she becomes pure.
Not to fast in Ramadan without a legal excuse is haram, a grave sin. First, one has to make repentance for the unperformed fasts. Then one has to make up for unperformed fasts by fasting a day for a day; that is, one has to observe as many fasts as the number of unperformed fasts. If one misses 30 fast-days in Ramadan, one has to keep fasts as many as the number of them. It is not necessary to makekaffarah for these fasts. Kaffarah is not the penalty for not observing a fast, but the penalty for breaking deliberately a Ramadan fast for which one made intention. A very old person who will not be able to keep Ramadan fasts and make-up fasts until death and a patient for whom there is no hope of recovery eat and drink secretly. A hadith-i sharif says, "An elderly person who is too old to fast and a patient for whom there is no hope of recovery give fidyah [a compensation paid by a person who does not keep fast in Ramadan for some reasons stated by Islam]." If the old person who cannot fast is rich, he/she gives fidyah for each fast-day. If he/she is poor, he/she does not give fidyah, but supplicates.
For fidyah, flour or dates or raisins are given as much as one fitrah(fitr) amount for each day. For example, it suffices to give 53 kg of flour or 105 kg of dates or raisins for 30 fast-days. Or the equivalent of so much flour in gold or silver money is paid to one or more poor people all at once at the beginning or end of Ramadan as the fidyah of 30 unperformed fast-days. The poor person who receives the fidyahcan use it or can give it to another person. One who recovers after giving fidyah to such a degree that one is able to fast must observe the missed fasts.
If a rich person cannot observe the fast of Ramadan because of an excuse, such as illness or old age, and if this situation lasts until death, he/she enjoins in his/her will that a meal should be given to the poor. His/her wali (the person to whom he/she has instructed to distribute his/her property to appropriate places) gives one fitrah or its equivalent value in gold to a poor person for each unperformed fast.(Badayi)
Question: If a person is continuously ill or too old to perform the expiatory fasts, what should such a person do?
If one is continuously ill or too old to fast for 60 days, one feeds 60 poor people twice a day, which may be in the morning and in the evening or at noon and in the evening. It is not necessary for all of them to eat on the same day. It is also permissible to give two complete meals per day to one poor person for 60 days, or one complete meal per day for 120 days. Or one fitrah amount of charity is given from one of the things that can be given as fitrah to each of the 60 poor people. Or it is also permissible to give the equivalent of the same in bread or in other property or in gold. Paper money may be given to the poor person to feed himself or herself instead of meals. One fitrah amount of foods or property is given to a poor person for 60 days consecutively. If the 60 days' food is given altogether to one poor person in one day, it is considered that a day's food has been given. Therefore, one should take this into consideration. If a poor person eats, let us say, two loaves of bread in the morning and in the evening, it is necessary to give two loaves of bread per day. If 120 loaves of bread were given in one day, it would be considered that a day's food has been given.
Question: A female dentist says, "Eating something forgetfully invalidates the fast, too. There is no Qur'anic verse that states the contrary." Are there not other sources in our religion besides the Qur'an?
It is not proper for a person to talk about issues beyond his/her specialty like a specialist. It is not said in many verses of the Qur'an al-karim, "Obey only Allah," but said, "Obey Allah and His Messenger." Besides, obeying Allah's Messenger is not different from obeying Allah. The Qur'an al-karim states, "He (Allah's Messenger) does not say anything other than what is revealed"(An-Najm 3).
This sacred verse proclaims that whatever our master the Prophet communicates about the religion is nothing but what Allahu ta'ala reveals. Additionally, it is stated, "Whatever the Prophet gives you[whatever he commands you], take it. From whatever he forbids you, abstain from it" (Al-Hashr 7).
As it is seen, there must be matters that Allahu ta'ala has not revealed explicitly in the Qur'an al-karim that it is stated, "Do whatever the Prophet commands and abstain from whatever he forbids." For instance, we cannot find in the Qur'an how to perform namazes and how many units they contain. In the same way, we cannot find what to read in each unit or what to do if we make a mistake. Where can we find them? We perform namaz the way our master the Prophet performed. We read in each unit what he read in each unit or what he ordered us to read. We make the prostration for forgetfulness (sajda-i sahw) as he prescribed. There are many things that invalidate or do not invalidate the fast. Does an injection nullify the fast? Does a woman have to fast during her menstruation? What are the requirements for the validity of the fast? We learn these from our master the Prophet. If we obey the order of our master the Prophet, are we considered to have read it from another book? The sunnatsare not something unrelated to the Qur'an. Allahu ta'ala commands us to obey the Messenger. Why is our obeying Allah's this command regarded as abnormal?
According to a hadith-i sharif reported by Darimi, just as Jabrail'alaihis-salam brought the Qur'an al-karim by order of Allah, so he brought the sunnat, which is the explanation of it. Accordingly, ahadith-i sharif says, "The Prophet's rendering something haram is like Allah's rendering something haram" (Tirmidhi).
This female dentist's saying, "Eating something forgetfully invalidates the fast, too. There is no Qur'anic verse that states the contrary," is wrong. The rules that were not communicated through Qur'anic verses were communicated through the sunnat. Our master the Prophet declares:
(Let him who eats or drinks forgetfully while fasting continue his fast, for Allahu ta'ala Himself makes him eat and drink.)[Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasai]
(If a fasting person eats or drinks forgetfully, he is not required to make up for it.) [Dara Qutni]
Since people interpret the verses according to their own understanding, 72 heretical sects have emerged. If they had obeyed the explanations of our master the Prophet, these divisions would not have erupted. Divisions stem from not obeying our master the Prophet. If everybody took the explanations of our master the Prophet, there would not be splits.
Question: What should a woman do if she has to keep expiatory fasts? We cannot fast 60 consecutive days, so should we wait for the menopause?
Women do not fast on the days when they are menstruating; they resume after the flow of blood stops. They do not wait for the menopause.
Question: Though backbiting and getting blood drawn do not invalidate the fast, if a person eats or drinks after these on the assumption that the fast has been broken, does it entail kaffarah?
Yes, it does. There was not extreme necessity for eating or drinking. Such a person should have asked a knowing person whether the fast was broken.
Question: If a person who vomits a mouthful or who has a nocturnal emission eats or drinks on the assumption that the fast has been broken, does it necessitate kaffarah?
If one does not know the fact that they do not nullify the fast, kaffarahis not necessary for them. However, if one has learned that they do not nullify the fast, but in spite of it, one eats or drinks, then kaffarahbecomes necessary. After such things as backbiting, looking at women, applying kohl, and getting blood drawn, which are certainly known not to break the fast, if one eats or drinks something consciously because one thinks that one's fast has already been broken, one's fast will be broken this time and kaffarah will be necessary. It does not matter whether one knows previously whether they break the fast or not because it is not an excuse not to know a thing that is widely known. Kaffarah is necessary. (Radd-ul-Mukhtar)
Question: How should a person who has the debt of 5 make-up fasts and the fast of kaffarah perform these fasts? Does he/she have to observe 65 fasts without a break?
No, he/she does not. He/she fasts for 60 days. He/she keeps the remaining 5 fasts anytime he/she likes; that is, they may be observed sporadically. But 60 days must be performed consecutively, not sporadically.
Question: I broke my fast lest my illness might deteriorate, but it did not deteriorate. Does it necessitate kaffarah?
It necessitates kaffarah because your illness did not deteriorate.
Question: If a fasting person eats much salt at once, will kaffarah be necessary?
Qada (making up for a missed fast; observing another fast in lieu of it) is necessary. If one eats a little salt, then kaffarah is necessary.
Question: If a person who receives 60 days' money for the kaffarah of fast spends 40 days' money for meals and gives 20 days' money to another poor person and if the giver of the money does not know the situation, is the kaffarah counted as having paid?
If it was said before that the receiver could give it to another person, it is permissible.
Question: Does the receiver of the kaffarah have to eat it without a break?
Expiatory fasts are observed without a break, but it is permissible to have a break in feeding the poor.
Question: Is a separate intention necessary for each day for expiatory fasts?
A separate intention is necessary.
Question: What should a person with a heart trouble do if he/she is unable to observe expiatory fasts?
He or she is considered as a patient who is continuously ill.
Question: Is it valid to make such a vow, "If I recover, I will observe expiatory fasts"?
No, it is not valid.
Question: I have to observe kaffarah five times. If I observe kaffarahonce with the intention of all of them, will I be considered to have observed all of them?
Question: When one is observing expiatory (kaffarah) fasts, if one is mistaken about the time when the clocks are put back and makes something breaking the fast after dawn, what is the ruling regarding it? Should the entire process be restarted?
Yes, it must be restarted. The previous fasts are counted as voluntary fasts.
Question: What should a person who cannot specify the year for make-up and expiatory fasts do?
One should intend as "the earliest unperformed fast."
Question: In Ramadan, I had sexual intercourse with my wife on the mistaken assumption that it was not imsak time (the time when prohibition on eating begins) yet. I learned later that the time of imsakhad started. My wife said she knew that the time of imsak had started. Should we perform qada or kaffarah?
Since you did not know it, you have to perform qada. But since your wife knew it, she has to perform kaffarah.
Question: A man of religion said, "To have sexual intercourse with one's wife does not invalidate the fast." Does having sexual intercourse not invalidate the fast?
This could not have been said by a man of religion; there must surely have been some misunderstanding. Even an ignorant person cannot say such a thing. Having sexual intercourse renders the fast void, and it necessitates kaffarah (expiation). (Durar)
In the Shafi'i Madhhab, expiation becomes necessary upon a man who engages in sexual intercourse, while it does not become necessary upon a wife. But her fast becomes void, which necessitates only qada(making up for the missed fast; re-fasting of that day later). (Tuhfa)
In order for sexual intercourse to necessitate expiation, the following conditions must exist:
1. The fast that has been broken must be a Ramadan fast. If one breaks one's fast while making up for missed days in Ramadan or observing other kinds of fast, it does not make the relevant person liable to expiation.
2. One has to make intention for a Ramadan fast before imsak time (the time when prohibition on eating begins). If one makes intention for the fast after imsak time or if one engages in sexual intercourse without ever making intention for the fast, which is haram in this case, it entails only qada.
3. One has to have sexual intercourse deliberately. If one has it forgetfully, it neither entails expiation, nor does it break the fast. Forgetting is an excuse. Kaffarah (expiation) is a penalty not for breaking the fast, but for desecrating the honor and dignity of the blessed month of Ramadan.
4. Sexual intercourse has to be made after imsak time, that is, in the daytime. After having sex with one's spouse on the wrong assumption that there is still time for imsak, if one realizes that imsak time started, it necessitates only qada, not expiation, because there is no deliberate breaking of the fast.
5. After intercourse, if one falls ill so much so that one is unable to fast, expiation does not become necessary. Likewise, if the menstrual bleeding of a woman begins after intercourse, expiation does not become necessary, either.
6. In order for expiation to become necessary, one must break one's fast deliberately at the place where one resides. If one breaks it while one is a traveler, one is required to observe a make-up fast later because it is not fard to observe the fast while one is traveling. A non-fasting traveler makes up for missed days later.
7. A husband and a wife must have sexual intercourse of their own accord. If compelling duress (al-ikrah al-mulji) is exercised upon them in order to force them to have intercourse, expiation does not become necessary upon them. Duress (ikrah) means to compel someone unlawfully to perform some act against his/her will. In order for a compulsion to be regarded as ikrah, there are four conditions to be met:
(1) The compeller must be able to carry out the thing with which he/she threatens; (2) the compelled must be sure that the thing with which he or she is threatened will certainly be carried out; (3) the threat must be death or mutilation or any bitter persecution; and (4) the act one is compelled to perform must be something that must not be performed. (Ibn Abidin, Durar-ul-hukkam)
Besides, some people say that masturbation does not invalidate the fast, while some others say that it invalidates it and necessitates expiation. Both are wrong. The fact that masturbation breaks the fast but necessitates only a make-up fast is written in Hindiyya, Bahr,Durr-ul-mukhtar, and other books that deal with Islamic jurisprudence. Masturbating twice in one Ramadan entails expiation as well, because if one who did something that necessitates only make-up fast on one day of Ramadan does the same thing purposely on another day, it is necessary for one to make expiation, too.
Question: When my late grandmother was suckling her first baby when she was young, she fell asleep. As the baby was out of breath, he died. She observed fast for 60 days as expiation. Was what she did true?
Yes, it is true. If she also sought forgiveness from your grandfather, the baby's wali, there is no problem.
In case a person causes someone else to die by falling on him/her from a height or in case a sleeping person rolls and inadvertently causes someone to die [or in case motor vehicles inadvertently run down someone and kill him/her], expiation is paid as well.
Question: Is it permissible for a person who does not have the debt of expiation (kaffarah) to observe expiatory fasts?
Yes. If one has a debt of expiation that one does not know, one will have performed it. If one does not have a debt of expiation, these fasts will be counted as voluntary fasts. It is a misconception to say, "A person has to observe expiatory fasts once in a lifetime." One who does not have a debt of expiation does not have to observe expiatory fasts.
Question: Should a person who has a debt of expiation observe the expiatory fasts first and make its qada (make-up) later?
Yes. A make-up fast cannot be observed before the observance of its expiation.
Expiation is 60 days
Question: Is there a hadith about the expiation for breaking the fast?
The pertinent hadith-i sharif is as follows:
Hadrat Abu Huraira narrates:
A person came and said:
"O the Messenger of Allah, I am ruined!"
"What has ruined you?"
"I had sexual intercourse with my wife in Ramadan, and it rendered my fast void."
"You must free a slave."
"I have no slave."
"If you do not have a slave, you must fast for two consecutive months."
"I cannot fast for two months, either."
"Then you must give one fitrah to 60 poor people each." (When it is calculated in flour, it equals 53 kg of flour.)
"I cannot find it, either."
Meanwhile, a basket of dates was brought to the Messenger of Allah.
He said to him:
"Take them and give them out to poor people as charity."
"O the Messenger of Allah, who will I give them to? By Allah, there is no one in this city poorer than us. If you give permission, I will take them to my family."
The Messenger of Allah laughed till his blessed teeth became visible. Then he stated:
"Take them and feed your family." (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Majah)
It is not scientifically possible to reject this authentic hadith-i sharif, which appears in Kutub-i Sitta.
Question: A woman begins menstruating while she keeps 60-day expiatory fasts and thus stops keeping expiatory fasts for a while. If her menstruation ceases when she wakes up but if she eats and drinks after dawn, can she resume kaffarah (expiation)?
Since she did not resume expiation despite the cessation of her menstruation, she has to restart the entire two-month cycle. When there is likelihood that menstruation might stop, a woman should make intention before imsak time. Thus, if her menstruation stops, she can continue performing expiation. If it does not, that day's fast will have been broken. Doing so is a wise precaution.
Question: While fasting, if one swallows an uncooked grain of rice or a small piece of paper or if one makes intention for the fast after dawn and eats or drinks deliberately later, none of these acts necessitates expiation. Is it appropriate to break a fast with these acts as they do not necessitate expiation?
It is haram to break a fast arbitrarily, without a valid excuse, even if it does not entail expiation. One can commit these mentioned acts only if there is a good excuse to break the fast. For example, if one cannot understand with one's experience whether fasting will do harm, it will be better for one to break the fast in this way lest expiation might become necessary.
Expiation (kaffarah) is 60 days
Question: It is written in Endless Bliss, "It is necessary to fast for 60 days successively for kaffarah for the fast." If one fasts for two consecutive lunar months and if either of the months is 29 days in length and thus one fasts for 59 days, in such case, is kaffarahcounted as having been performed?
In our age there is no institution that sights the new crescent. If one, without sighting it, fasts for two lunar months by looking at calendars, the kaffarah will not be valid if the total of two months is 59 days. Hadrat Imam-i A'zam states, "It is necessary to fast for 60 days."Because the job of sighting the new crescent is not performed properly today, it is necessary to fast for 60 consecutive days. What is judicious and safe is this one. (Mabsut, Radd-ul-mukhtar)
If kaffarah coincides with Eid
Question: A person who is the author of an ilm-i hal book (a book that teaches the obligatory religious knowledge) says, "Even if the fasts of kaffarah coincide with the days of Eid, one should continue performing them." Are fasts that are observed on the days of Eid valid?
Maybe he means the days that are called national holidays. Otherwise, it is haram to fast on the first day of Eid ul-Fitr and on any of four days of Eid ul-Adha, be it an expiatory fast or a voluntary fast or a votive fast or a make-up fast. It is written in religious books:
If the fast of kaffarah is broken for excusable reasons such as illness and travel or because it is intervened by days of Eid or by Ramadan, it is necessary to fast for sixty days anew. If one does not break it on days of Eid, one still has to begin anew. If a woman breaks it because of menstrual or postnatal bleeding, she does not begin it anew. She completes it to 60 when she becomes pure. Yet if one of the same reasons (i.e., menstrual and post-natal bleeding) interrupts a woman’s fast of kaffarah for a (broken) oath, which consists of fasting for three successive days, she has to fast for three successive days anew, because it is possible for a woman to fast for three successive days. If one begins one’s fast of kaffarah on the first day of Rajab and if the 60 days are not completed by the last day of Sha’ban, one intends for going on a journey of three days’ distance [that is, more than 104 km] and leaves one’s town. If one intends for the fast of kaffarah on the first day of Ramadan during the journey, one's kaffarah becomes valid.(Ashbah)
Since it is permissible not to fast during a journey and to make up for this fast-day later, one is permitted to do so.
It is not permissible to perform a wajib fast on the days when fasting is forbidden. (Kuhistani)
If one keeps a fast when one is traveling or is ill, the fast is counted as valid. However, if one keeps a fast on the days when fasting is forbidden [such as Eid], the fast is counted as invalid. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
Kaffarah for the fast
Question: To do the kaffarah for breaking the fast, if one gives a poor person money for 60 days' food and tells him/her to eat a meal every day, is it permissible?
It is not permissible. It is necessary to give two complete meals to 60 poor people. It is also permissible to give two complete meals per day to one poor person for 60 days, or one complete meal per day for 120 days.
Kaffarah becomes necessary
Question: If one breaks one's fast twice or more times during the same Ramadan by doing something that breaks the fast and necessitates only make-up fast, does it entail kaffarah?
If one does them on purpose, it entails kaffarah. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
For instance, if one who knows the fact that swallowing a grain of rice without water or dropping oil into the ear invalidates the fast and necessitates a make-up fast breaks one's fast in this manner deliberately without any reason whatsoever, it entails only a make-up fast. But if one repeats it deliberately without any reason whatsoever during the same Ramadan, it entails kaffarah this time. Or if one who knows the fact that breaking the fast does not entail kaffarah providing that intention is made after dawn breaks one's fast again deliberately without any reason whatsoever, it also entails kaffarah. This is meant to prevent fraud. If there is a genuine reason that allows one to break the fast, it does not entail kaffarah even if one breaks three or more fasts in this way.
Question: It is said, "If a person who masturbates while fasting does not know that it breaks the fast, it entails a make-up fast. But if the relevant person knows that it breaks the fast, it also necessitateskaffarah." Is it true?
No, it is not true. Masturbation, even if one knows that it breaks the fast, invalidates the fast and necessitates only a make-up fast.(Hindiyya, Bahr, Durr-ul-mukhtar)
If one who did something that invalidates the fast and entails only a make-up fast on one day of Ramadan does the same thing purposely twice or more times during the same Ramadan, it is necessary for one to make kaffarah, too. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
This means to say that kaffarah becomes necessary upon a person who masturbates twice during the same Ramadan.
Penalty for breaking the fast
Question: A person who is notorious for his iconoclastic opinions states, "Even though it is written in the six works of hadith calledKutub-i Sitta that it is necessary for those who purposely break their fasts to fast for 60 days as penalty, it is wrong because penalty must be in proportion to the offense committed. It is cruelty to inflict the penalty of fasting for 60 days in return for a day's fasting." How can one object to a ruling that exists in Kutub-i Sitta?
This iconoclast is saying these not out of ignorance, but out of ill will, to distort the religion. He tries to present not fasting and breaking a fast purposely as the same thing. Kaffarah is the penalty not for not fasting, but for breaking a fast intentionally. The penalty for not fasting is to fast a day for a day.
If one has an excuse, one does not fast and makes up for missed days later by fasting a day for a day. Similarly, if one falls ill, one can break the fast and makes up for it by fasting a day for a day. If one does not fast at all, one makes up for missed fast-days by fasting a day for a day, too. But it is an offense to deliberately break the fast for which one made intention without any reason whatsoever. It is to desecrate the honor and dignity of the blessed month of Ramadan. That is, there is an offense committed.
Those who commit offenses in worldly matters bear the penalty for them, just as it is the case in our religion. Those who drive cars without a driving license or who do not stop at a red light are punished, even if they do not cause any accidents. Even if they do not do any illegal acts, those who carry arms without a license or who engage in unauthorized business practices are punished simply because they do them without a license. They are put in prison for years, even if these acts were momentary.
If a burglar gets caught after stealing five tea glasses from a house and says, "Take your glasses and release me," and even gives ten glasses in lieu of five glasses, do police officers release him/her? The court also gives him/her a prison sentence because theft itself is crime. Can he/she say, "I give the glasses back. Why do they put me in prison?" In our religion, thieves cannot become free by giving back what they have stolen. They suffer the penalty for theft. The court can even have their hands cut as per the enormity of the crime.
One who breaks the fast intentionally has committed an offense, and one cannot evade punishment by observing a fast in lieu of it. One must both observe that missed fast and pay kaffarah (expiation). Its expiation is to free a slave. If there is no slave, one fasts for two months, that is, 60 days, consecutively. Even if people with ill will think of this commandment of the religion as illogical, their thought carries no weight.