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What Happens If You Don’t Make Up Your Fasts before Next Ramadan?

27 February, 2024
Q As-salamu `alaykum. A woman is asking about making up for missed Ramadan fasts and feeding the poor as expiation for having delayed doing that. Should she give food for each day, or should she give food for all the days in one go after she has finished making up the fasts for these days?


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

In his response to your question, Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states:

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The ruling on delaying making up missed fasts

If a person delays making up missed Ramadan fasts until the  following Ramadan begins, and that was for a reason such as sickness, pregnancy or breastfeeding, the person does not have to do anything except making up for the missed days.

However, if there was no excuse, the person must make up for the missed days immediately, but there are different views among scholars about whether or not he or she has to pay an expiation.

Expiation for delaying making up missed fasts

The majority of scholars are of the view that the expiation must be paid, and it is done by feeding one poor person for every day. The most correct view is that the expiation is not obligatory, but the one who pays it to be on the safe side has done well.

Is It Permissible to Carry-Over Missed Fasts Between Ramadans?

This expiation according to those who say that it is required, becomes obligatory upon that person as soon as the following Ramadan begins, and he may offer it at that time, or delay it until he makes up for the fasts, but it is better to hasten to do it so as to fulfill his obligation.

We read in Al-Mawsuah Al-Fiqhiyyah (28/76):

Making up missed Ramadan fasts may be done at any time but the majority of scholars limited it to a specific time frame within which they must be made up, which is before the following Ramadan begins. This is based on the words of Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her): “I would owe missed Ramadan fasts but I would not be able to make them up except in Shaban, because of my duties towards the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).” This is similar to Prayer, which should not be delayed until the time for the next Prayer comes.

According to the majority of scholars, it is not permissible to delay making up missed Ramadan fasts until the following Ramadan comes without an excuse, and that doing so incurs sin. This is also based on the hadith of Aishah. If a person delays doing so, he must offer the expiation: feeding one poor person for each day. This is based on a report narrated by Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with them) who said concerning the one who has to make up for a missed fast but does not do so until the following Ramadan: “He must make it up and feed one poor person for each day.” This expiation is for delaying it. It is permissible to offer food before making up the fast, at the same time, or afterwards.

Al-Mardawi Al-Hanbali (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

He should offer food that is acceptable for expiation. It is permissible to give the food before making up the fast, at the same time, or afterwards. Al-Majd – meaning Ibn Taymiyah, the grandfather of Ibn Taymiyah – said that the best way is to give it beforehand, in his view, so as to hasten to do good and to rid oneself from the problem of postponing.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.