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Can You Delay Making Up Missed Fasts?

22 February, 2024
Q I did not fast some days in Ramadan because of my period. This happened a few years ago, and I have not fasted these days until now. What should I have to do?


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:

Scholars agree that a person should make up the missed fasts from a previous Ramadan before the coming of the next one. Otherwise, he will be considered sinful. Scholars have different views concerning the kaffarah (feeding a poor person for each missed day).

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Responding to the question, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, the prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, states:

The obligation to make up missed fast

Muslim scholars agree that whoever does not fast some days of Ramadan has to make up those days before the coming of next Ramadan.

They quoted the hadith narrated from Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “I used to have fasts that I still owed from Ramadan, and I could not make them up until Shaban, and that was because of the position of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) [as a husband].” (Al-Bukhari)

Ibn Hajar said:

“It may be understood from her keenness to fast them in Shaban that it is not permissible to delay making up fasts until the next Ramadan begins.”

2 scenarios for delaying making up missed fass

If a person delays making up fasts until Ramadan begins, one of the following two scenarios must apply:

  1. The delay is for a reason, such as being sick and the sickness lasted until the following Ramadan begins. In this case, there is no sin on a person for delaying because he has an excuse, and he or she only has to make up the days missed. So he or she should make up the number of days missed.
  2. There is no reason for the delay, such as when a person was able to make up the fasts but he or she did not do so before the following Ramadan began.

Making up fasts + feeding one poor person?

This person is sinful by failing to make up the fasts with no excuse. Scholars agree that he must make up the fasts, but they differed concerning, along with making up the fasts, feeding one poor person for each missed day.

Imams Malik, Ash-Shafi`i, and Ahmad see that he must feed a poor person, and they quoted the reports narrated from some Companions such as Abu Hurairah and Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them).

Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah have mercy on him) was of the view that he does not have to feed a poor person as well as making up the fasts.

He quoted the fact that Allah commands the one who does not fast in Ramadan only to make up the missed fasts, and He did not mention feeding a poor person. Allah says, {…but whoever among you is sick or on a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days.} (Al-Baqarah 2:184) (Al-Majmu’, 6/366; al-Mughni, 4/400)

This second view was also favored by Imam Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him). He said in his Sahih:

Ibrahim (i.e., An-Nakhi) said: “If a person neglects (to make up missed fasts) until the next Ramadan comes, he should fast the missed days of both months. But he did not think that he has to feed a poor person. There was also a mursal report from Abu Hurairah and Ibn ‘Abbas which says that he should also feed a poor person. Then Al-Bukhari said: “But Allah does not mention feeding a poor person, rather He says, “a (like) number of other days (i.e. should be made up).” (Al-Baqarah 2:184)

Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said, when noting that it is not obligatory to feed a poor person:

“With regard to the words of the Companions, their use as evidence is subject to further discussion if it goes against the apparent meaning of the Quran. In this case, saying that it is obligatory to feed a poor person goes against the apparent meaning of the Quran, because Allah Almighty only enjoined making up the same number from other days, and He did not mention more than that.

Based on this, we should not oblige the slaves of Allah to do any more than they need to fulfill their duties. But what was narrated from Ibn Abbas and Abu Hurairah may be interpreted as referring to what is mustahabb (preferable), not what is obligatory.

The correct view with regard to this issue is that a person does not have to do anything more than making up the missed fasts, but he is sinful if he delays doing so.” (Ash-Sharh al-Mumti, 6/451)

Based on this, then what is obligatory is only to make up the fasts, but if a person wants to be on the safe side and feed one poor person for each day missed, then that is good.

As for the questioning sister, if she delayed making up the fasts with no excuse, she has to repent to Allah and resolve not to repeat this mistake in the future.

And Allah is the One Whom we ask to help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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