Making Up the Entire Missed Fast
Wed, July 16, 2008 Leave a comment
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty,
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All the praise and thanks is due to Allah, the Lord of the Al-Alamin. May peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is one of the five pillars of Islam which is of paramount significance.
The Prophet SAW clearly said, “Islam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing Prayer, paying the zakah, making the pilgrimage to the Sacred House (Hajj), and fasting the month of Ramadhan.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Generally speaking, most of the scholars and jurists are of the opinion that whoever has neglected or failed to fast for some reason or another one is obligated to make up for it if he or she can unless one is terminally ill or advanced in age and therefore unable to do so. If the fasts that one have missed are not too many and one are able to make up for them, then one should try your best to make up for them. This is in pursuance of what Allah Says: “[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them]-then an equal number of days [are to be made up]…” [Al-Baqarah, 2:184]
There is however another view on this issue. This is a view held by Imam Ibn Taimiyyah. According to him, a person who had been away from Islam and now is repentant of his past sins and looks forward to leading a responsible Islamic life is not obligated to make up for the Prayers or fasts he or she has missed or neglected to do in the past. Rather, it is adequate for him or her to repent and seek Allah for forgiveness repeatedly. His reasoning is that to insist that they should make up for their Prayers and fasts would only serve as a deterrent against their repentance; in other words, it would not encourage them to come forward and repent. Ibn Taimiyyah says that since the main thrust of the Qur’an and the Sunnah is to give hope for the sinners and give them glad tidings so that they wholeheartedly embrace the path of repentance, such a ruling is closer to the spirit of these laws.
The view of Ibn Taimiyyah is founded on a sound understanding of the wisdom and purposes of the syari`ah laws.
So if you find yourself burdened by these fasts you have missed in the past, you may follow the view of Imam Ibn Taimiyyah. If, however, you find it easy to do them, then go ahead and do them [and seek Allah for His forgiveness]. The Prophet SAW reassured us saying, ‘This religion of ours is simple and easy to comply with; so whoever makes it hard will only be defeated by it.
May Allah Almighty guide us to the path of truth.
1. Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Canada.
2. Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.muslims.ca [and Islamic Online]