Question: Can a person who has undergone full surgical removal of the stomach (gastrectomy) observe the fast?
Doctors say that for such a person there is no obstacle to observing the fast.
Fasting and fidyah
Question: How does a person who is too old to fast or a patient for whom there is no hope of recovery observe the fast? If they cannot fast, who should they give money to? What amount of money should they give?
A very old person who will not be able to observe Ramadan fasts or make-up fasts until death and a patient for whom there is no hope of recovery do not fast. The purport of a hadith-i sharif is as follows:
(A person who is too old to fast or a patient for whom there is no hope of recovery gives fidyah [compensation in lieu of fasting].) [Nasai]
A person who is so old that he/she cannot fast gives fidyah for each fast day, if he/she is rich. If he/she is poor, he/she does not give fidyah but makes supplication. Flour as much as the fitrah amount is given as fidyah for each day. The fitrah amount of flour equals 1750 g. It is enough to give 53 kg of flour for 30 fast-days. Or its equivalent in gold may be given as the fidyah for 30 unperformed fast days to one or more poor people at the beginning or end of Ramadan. The poor person who receives the fidyah can use it or can donate it to another person. If the patient recovers after giving the fidyah, he/she has to make up for the missed fasts. (Nahr-ul-faiq)
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: When do non-fasting patients pay fidyah (compensation in lieu of fasting)?
They can pay it anytime. It can be paid in Ramadan.
Question: Is it sinful for a person with a malady not to fast?
Medical specialists say that fasting has beneficial effects on many diseases. A hadith-i sharif says, "There is a zakat for everything. The zakat for the body is fasting" (Bayhaqi).
Just as a person who gives zakat purges his/her property from dirt and protects it from danger, so a fasting person protects his/her body from diseases. The purport of a hadith-i sharif is as follows:
(Fast so as to be healthy.) [Tabarani]
Some people with gastric or other types of disorders are abstaining from fasting on the plea of their illnesses. A patient who cannot determine whether fasting will do harm should consult a pious expert physician (a Muslim doctor who does not sin openly). If such a physician says that fasting will do harm, the patient leaves the fast and makes up for it later on. The patient cannot act upon the advice of a physician who is not pious. Those patients who take prescribed medication can observe the fast by adjusting, in accordance with the advice of the doctor, their intake timings and dosages of drugs according to the beginning and break times of the fast. Diseases that prevent the observance of fasting are a few. Therefore, a patient must not leave the fast so as to perform it later on without consulting a pious doctor.
Diabetics and nursing women
Question: Can a diabetic fast? Is it allowed for a pregnant or nursing woman not to fast?
There are many types of diabetes. If a pious physician says that such a person cannot fast, he/she does not fast, but pays fidyah. If a pregnant or nursing woman is weak, she does not fast, but makes up for missed fast-days when she recovers.
People may not know whether fasting will bring about harm on their health or not. They may decide that they are capable of fasting, but maybe fasting will aggravate their illnesses. Conversely, they may decide that they are not capable of fasting, but maybe fasting will do good. For this reason, the sufferer should see a pious doctor and act upon his advice. It is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(An ill person, a pregnant woman who apprehends harm to her child, an old person who is not able to fast, and an extremely weak person who fears that he may die if he fasts do not observe the fast.) [Daylami]
(A pregnant or a nursing woman does not fast if fasting brings about harm to her own health or to her child's health.) [Bukhari, Abu Dawud]
(Allahu ta'ala gave concession to a pregnant and a nursing woman not to fast.) [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasai]
Question: A pregnant woman keeps the fast, saying, "It is haram not to fast in Ramadan." She is risking herself and her child. It is appropriate for her to put them at risk?
If a pious Muslim doctor says that she must not fast, then she must act accordingly. However, the fast cannot be broken according to the advice of a non-Muslim or a fasiq (one who sins openly) doctor.
Question: As there are stones in the kidney of my aunt, the doctor has told her to drink water very often. If she has to give fidyah, how much should she give? And what should she give? Can she give the fidyah to me?
If she is so ill that she cannot fast, she is to give 53 kg of flour for 30 fast-days of Ramadan, or its value can be paid in gold. If you are poor, she can give it to you.
Question: I am a sufferer from a heart disease. Normally I am able to fast, but I am worried about a heart attack. Is it permitted for me not to fast and to give fidyah?
It is not permissible for a person who is capable of fasting to give fidyah. In heart diseases, a drug containing nitroderm [TTN] is put on the chest. It is absorbed into the body from the skin. It does not invalidate the fast because it enters the body via healthy skin. When a heart attack strikes, the fast may be broken by taking drugs orally. That is, you should observe the fast as much as you can.
Question: When I make up for the fasts that I missed in Ramadan because of an illness, should I perform them one right after the other?
You do not have to perform them one right after the other. You can perform them whenever it is possible.
Question: How should a patient who has to receive injections regularly make up for unperformed Ramadan fasts?
Such a person is to give 53 kg of flour or its equivalent in gold. If the patient is not rich, he/she does not give it, but makes supplication instead.
Question: My father could not observe the fast of the holy month of Ramadan for the last two years because of his sickness. He is still in no condition to fast, and he is unlikely to recover as he is well up in years. He satisfies the conditions set by Islam in order to be considered rich. What should he do?
He is to give fidyah for the fast-days, but he must observe the fast once he recovers. He is to give 53 kg of flour for a month's fast. He can give it to one or more poor people.
Question: If a patient breaks the fast by taking a drug, does it entail kaffarah?
It does not entail kaffarah (expiation by freeing a slave or by fasting 60 consecutive days or by feeding 60 poor people) because when the fast is broken in case of a religiously legitimate excuse, that is, an extreme necessity, it entails only qada (making up for it later on). However, if the fast is broken because of a feeble excuse, it also entails kaffarah.
Question: If I break my fast unconsciously while in a state of depression, is it necessary for me to offer kaffarah?
If you broke your fast after the time of imsak (the time when prohibition on eating begins) while the adhan was being called, then you are liable to offer qada (only making up for the missed day). But if you were aware that you were breaking the fast, then you are liable to offer kaffarah. It is understood from the depressive state you have mentioned as if you had broken it unconsciously. And breaking it unconsciously requires qada.
Question: If a person, after a tooth extraction by undergoing a dental anesthetic injection, eats and drinks, saying, "My fast has been broken," does it require kaffarah?
Qada is required, not kaffarah. When one receives an injection because of an illness, one's fast is broken and qada is needed. Eating and drinking after the fast is broken do not necessitate kaffarah.
Question: Is it permissible to give water to a person who falls critically ill while fasting in Ramadan?
It is permissible. It is declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(Whoever dies while fasting will have recorded for him a reward as if he fasted until Doomsday.) [Daylami]
Excepting the holy month of Ramadan, it is mustahab (recommended) to give water to fasting patients who are on their deathbed.
Question: A patient underwent an operation and a prosthesis was implanted into his leg. Is it an obstacle to his performing namaz and observing the fast in Ramadan, providing that there is not an apparent pain and suffering?
It is not an obstacle. If he cannot perform namaz by standing, he can perform it by sitting.
Question: Is it necessary to give Zamzam water to a fasting person who is on his/her deathbed?
It is better for him/her to die in a state of fasting.
Question: Is it sinful to break a make-up (qada) fast because of unbearable hunger and thirst?
If it is really unbearable, it is not sinful.
Giving the fidyah to another person
Question: Can an indigent person give the fidyah for the fast that is given to him/her to another indigent person?
Yes, he/she can.
A patient and fidyah
Question: If one cannot fast in the month of Ramadan because of an illness but if one is to make up for the unperformed days when one recovers, does one still have to pay fidyah for fast-days?
No, one who is capable of making up for them does not pay fidyah. One has to make up for them when one recovers, even if one pays the fidyah.