Chapter 5: A Woman During Ramadan

1. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is obligatory (wajib) upon everyone, male or female, unless they have a valid excuse.

Allah سبحانه و تعالى said in Soorah Baqarah, Ayah 185:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance to humanity and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever from you witnesses [the crescent moon of] the month, then they should fast it.

  • From the Mercy of Allah سبحانه و تعالى , certain people are exempted from fasting the days of Ramadan. Those who are exempted from fasting are those with valid excuses due to special circumstances:
    • A woman who is experiencing her menstrual cycle or postpartum bleeding.
      • Aisha رضي الله عنها said: That [meaning menses] used to happen to us and we were commanded to make up fasts but we were not commanded to make up prayers. [Bukhaari 310 & Muslim 508]
      • Umm Salamah رضي الله عنها said: During the time of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, the women in nifaas would sit (not pray or fast) for forty days. [Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and others].
    • The sick person or the travelling person, as Allah سبحانه و تعالى mentioned later in Ayah 185 of Soorah Baqarah:

وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

And whoever is sick or on a journey, then [they should make up] an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for what He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

  • NOTE: A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding is amongst those obligated to fast. She is only excused from fasting the days of Ramadan if she is physically unable to fast due to concerns for her health or for the baby’s health. If she is physically unable to fast, then she is considered like the sick.

 

2. The missed days of fasting from the month of Ramadan must be made up from amongst the other days of the year. 
  • Related terminology: The Arabic word that refers to making up the missed days of fasting from the other days of the year is قضاء.

Allah سبحانه و تعالى said in Ayah 185 of Soorah Baqarah:

فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ

Then [they should make up] an equal number of other days.

  • She can fast at her own pace throughout the year. By the Mercy of Allah سبحانه و تعالى she can wait until the short days of winter when the hours are less and the weather is cooler. She can spread it out so that she fasts only one day per week, or whatever she is capable of; it does not have to be consecutive/ back-to-back.
  • Even if she ends up waiting until the last few weeks before the arrival of the next Ramadan, there is no problem in this and she can still fast in these days.

Aisha رضي الله عنها said:

كان يكون علي صوم من رمضان فلا استطيع ان اقضي الا في شعبانز و ذلك لمكان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم.

I used to have fasts from Ramadan, and I was not able to make them up except in Sha’baan (month before Ramadan). And that was because of the position of the Prophet ﷺ. [Bukhaari 1950 & Muslim 1146]

 

3. The missed fasts must be completed before the next Ramadan. If not, then in addition to the قضاء(making up of the days), the woman is also recommended to give theفدية /fidyah (feed a poor person) for each day missed. 
  • Related terminology: The Arabic word that means to feed a poor person is فدية.
  • No matter how many years pass, the قضاء (making up of the days) is still obligatory upon the woman who missed some days from the month of Ramadan.
  • The only time a woman is excused, even if another Ramadan arrives, is if her fear for her/ the baby’s health did not lift at all throughout the year.

For example, If the pregnancy was difficult, then after her nifaas, the baby was not getting sufficient nutrients due to her milk supply being very low.

  • The fidyah is to be given by the one who delayed the making up of the missed fasts past the next Ramadan without excuse. The qadaa (making up the days) is still obligatory upon this sister; the fidyah is in addition to that.
    • It is to feed one poor person for every day missed.
    • It is to give the poor person food, not money.
    • The amount of food is 1/2 saa, which is equal to 1.5 kilograms.
    • The type of food is whatever the staple food of the local population consists of.
  • The scholars differed greatly on whether the person who delays past the next Ramadan must also give the fidyah in addition to making the days up (qadaa).

Sh. Salih al-Munajjad concluded that to be on the safe side, it is best to also give the fidyah, as the amount is not much or expensive, alhamdulillah.