Do pregnant and breastfeeding women, if they did not fast during Ramadan, need to make up the fast, pay expiation, or do both?
Alhamdulillah, If a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding, she does not have to fast if she is fearful for her health. She has the choice of either making up that fast when she is able to, or paying for that day by feeding a poor person.
The Prophet peace be upon him said: “Allah has removed half of the prayer for the person traveling, as well as fasting for him, the pregnant woman, and the breastfeeding woman.” [Narrated by Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi; Hasan]
Allah obliged the travelling person to make up their fast “Whoever from you is traveling or is sick then let him fast other days…” [2:184] and for those that are unable to fast due to acute health issues he allowed them feed the poor “and for those able to, they should expiate by feeding the poor” [2:184].
He then says “He that gives more, then it is better for him, and for you to fast is better for you, if you only knew.”
This last statement allows fasting to still be performed, but the option to pay for each day is permitted for those that are not able to fast.
The question is then: Does a person have to pay for the day AND make up the fast for that day as well?
While some scholars have stated that pregnant and breastfeeding women must do both, the best of generations, the companions of the Prophet peace be upon him, have ruled that they are exclusive and do not have to be done together.
Ibn Abbas said concerning the above verse: “When a pregnant or breastfeeding woman fears for herself and her child in Ramadan, then they should not fast, and they should feed for every day one poor person; they do not need to make up those days. [Abu Dawud, Al-Daraqutni]
Al-Daraqutni narrated that Ibn Umar’s wife asked him about this while she was pregnant, he replied “Break your fast, and feed one poor person for each day, and do not make up that day.”
These statements by Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar were made in front of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, and there is no dissenting opinion narrated from any of the other companions. This type of silence is considered by many scholars to be consensus of that generation as to the correctness of this opinion. Additionally, when a companion of the Prophet explains a verse, this explanation takes precedence over any other explanations built upon analogy and opinion.
If you are:
- Traveling or Sick – You can break your fast, but you make up the days later.
- Old & Feeble – You do not have to fast, you feed a poor person for the days.
- Pregnant or Breastfeeding – You do not have to fast; you can make up the days later or you can feed a poor person for each day; you do not need to do both.
May Allah bless us this Ramadan