What is fidya?
When someone cannot fast in Ramadan (due to ill health, travelling or menstruation for example) they should make up the missed fasts when they are able to do so. However, if they will not be able to make up missed fasts (due to old age or chronic illness that is unlikely to improve) they should pay fidya for someone else to be fed.
“[Fasting is for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew,” (Qur’an, 2:184-5)
Who should pay fidya?
In the Hanafi school, fidya is only paid by a person who is not able to fast in Ramadan, cannot make up for the missed fasts at any other time and is not expected to ever regain the ability to make up the missed fasts. All three conditions must be fulfilled, otherwise one does not pay fidya but has to make up the missed fasts.
There is no time limit for making up missed fasts in the Hanafi school so fidya is only valid if a person has no hope of being able to make up the missed fasts in their lifetime. This means that the following do not qualify to pay fidya:
- One who misses out on a few days of fasting due to a temporary illness
- One who accidentally or deliberately broke their fast
- One who is unable to fast this year due to surgery or the like, but is expected to be able to fast next year
If one pays fidya thinking they will not have the health to make up missed fasts but then regains their health later in life, their fidya will be considered as charity and they must then make up the missed fasts.
Therefore, in the Hanafi school there is no fidya to be paid by a pregnant or nursing woman who misses fasts in Ramadan as she will be able to make up the fasts later.
How much do you need to pay?
For every day of missed fasting one has to pay the value of approximately 2kg of wheat. Please consult a local scholar on what the exact amount is in your area.
In the UK this is £5 for each missed fast. This should provide one person with two meals or two people with one meal. If someone misses all the fasts of Ramadan 2020, they would need to pay £150.
There is some difference of opinion in the Islamic schools of jurisprudence on how much needs to be paid in fidya. Consult a scholar if you are unsure how much to pay.