Question: How do I make up for missed fasting days during Ramadan?
During Ramadan, accommodations can be made when someone is unable to fast because of sickness or other health reasons. However, it is necessary to either make up the days later, if possible, or expiate in other ways.
Answer: For some people, fasting during Ramadan would be detrimental to their health. The Quran recognizes this in Surah Baqarah: "But if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (of Ramadan days) should be made up from days later. For those who cannot do this except with hardship is a ransom: the feeding of one that is indigent.... Allah intends every ease for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties...." (Quran 2:184-185). Islamic scholars have summarized the rules as follows:
- If someone is temporarily sick or has a condition that resolves later (such as with the flu or pregnancy), one should make up each day of Ramadan missed with another day of fasting later, a day for a day, at any other time of year. These days need not be continuous. One should try to make up these days as soon as it is possible for fasting to resume, but certainly before the beginning of the next year's Ramadan.
- If someone has a chronic health condition that is not expected to resolve, one should share in charity enough to feed one person for each day of the fasting month.
- If someone deliberately breaks the fast, or misses a day of fasting for no legitimate reason, it is also necessary to also make up the missed day later. In the case when someone breaks the fast by engaging in sexual intercourse, one must also observe a penalty: fasting 60 continuous days, or feeding 60 poor people.