Forgot To Qadha the Missed Fasts before Next Ramadhan
What is the ruling on one who forgets to make up missed fasts before the next Ramadhan comes?
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allah, the Lord of the al-'Alamin. Peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
1. In the Case Of One Who Forgot When Fasting.
The Fuqaha’ unanimously agreed that in cases of one who forget [or fail to remember], he is forgiven, which means there would be no sin or accountability in all matters, because of a great deal of evidence in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Allah Says: “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error” [Al-Baqarah, 2:286]
The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever breaks his fast in Ramadhan out of forgetfulness, he does not have to make that day up and he does not have to offer any expiation (kafarah).” [Narrated and classified as sahih by Al-Hakim].
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks let him complete his fast, for the One Who fed him and gave him to drink was Allah.” [Unanimously agreed upon by the scholars].
2. In The Case Of Forgotten to Qada the Missed Ramadhan Fasts.
In the case of someone who forgot to qada or make up the missed fasts of Ramadhan before the next Ramadhan comes, the scholars unanimously agreed that he still accountable and must make up after the second Ramadhan, and he is not entitled to be waived as a result of forgetting. [The excuse is given when someone forget he is fasting. One has to make up the missed mandatory fast. This contrary to delaying to qada the missed fast.] The scholars differed as to whether the fidyah [expiation], which is feeding a poor person, is required when making up the missed fast [after the second Ramadhan has come and gone]. In relation to this issue there are two views:
1. That the fidyah is not required [due to the fact it is irrelevant to the case that requires fidyah], [or] because someone forgot, which he is forgiven which means that there is no sin and the fidyah is waived. This was the view of most of the Shafi’es and some of the Malikis.
[See: Tuhfat Al-Muhtaj by Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami (3/445); Nihayat Al-Muhtaj (3/196); Minah Al-Jalil (2/154); Sharh Mukhtasar Khalil (2/263).]
2. That the fidyah is not waived and still required, even forgetting is forgiven due to forgetfulness. This was the view of Al-Khatib Al-Sharbini among the Shafi’es, who said in Mughni Al-Muhtaj (2/176): “It seems that it means there is no sin only and that the fidyah is not waived” This was also the view of some of the Malikis.
[See: Mawahib Al-Jalil Sharh Mukhtasar Khalil (2/450).]
The Correct View
The more correct view is the first view above, meaning the fidyah is not required [and irrelevant to the case], and in the case if someone forgot, he is forgiven-not accountable of his misdeeds which means that there is no sin and the fidyah is waived for three reasons:
1. The general meaning of the verses and ahadith which say that people are not held accountable in cases of forgetting, such as the verse in which Allah says:
“Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error” [Al-Baqarah 2:286]
2. The basic principle that one is not subject to any expiation or fidyah except with evidence, and there is no reliable evidence in this case.
3. There is a difference of opinion as to whether the fidyah is required in the first place, even in the case of one who delays making up the fasts deliberately. The Hanafis and Zahiris are of the view that it is not obligatory and Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was of the view that it is not mustahabb, because there is no hadith to suggest that it is prescribed except from the actions of some of the sahabah, which is not strong enough to suggest that people be obliged to follow it, let alone oblige them to do it in a case where Allāh has granted an excuse [forgiven].
Thus one has to make up the missed fasts, and he does not have to feed the poor [fidyah], what he should make them up after Ramadhan.
The Issue of Fidyah (Expiation)
The condition to pay fidyah, feeding the poor would arise due to the following situation.
1. When someone is given an exemption from fasting due to:
11. Sickness that has no chances to recover:
Allāh Says: “…And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship]-a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]…” [Al-Baqarah, 2:184]
1.2. Old Age which makes difficult to observe the fast:
Ibn ‘Abbas said: “It was permitted for the very elderly man (or woman) to feed a poor person for every day (that he did not fast), and he did not have to make up for the days.” [Ad-Daraqutni and Al-Hakim]
2. If someone intentionally breaks the fast by having sexual intercourse with the wife [he has committed a great sin and violated the sacredness of this month, and must make up the fast for that day. In addition, he is required to free a slave if it is possible to do so, if not, he has to fast two consecutive months [60 days] and if he is unable to do so,] then to he has feed sixty poor and needy people [fidyah].
This is in pursuance of a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radiallāhu`anhu) that a person came to see the Apostle of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allāh, I am undone. The Holy Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) asked him: What has brought about your ruin? The man said: I have had intercourse with my wife during the month of Ramadhan.
Upon this the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: Can you find a slave to set him free? He said: No. Then Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: Can you observe fast for two consecutive months? He said: No.
The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) then said: Can you provide food to sixty poor people? He said: No.
He then sat down and (in the meanwhile) it was brought to the Apostle of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) a basket which contained dates. The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) finally said: Give these (dates) in charity. The man said: Am I to give to one who is poorer than me? There is no family poorer than mine between the two lava plains of Madinah. The Apostle of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) broke into laughter that his molar teeth became visible and said: Go and give it to your family to eat.”
3. Delaying Making Up Fasts.
What is meant by feeding a poor person here is giving half a saa’ of the local staple food for each day; half a saa’ is equivalent to one and a half kilograms.
[Majmu’ Fatawa al-Maqalat li’l-Shaikh Ibn Baaz, 6/19.]
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Excerpted from Islam Q&A]