What is kaffara?

Kaffara (expiation) provides an opportunity to recompense for individuals who deliberately miss or break a fast during Ramadan without a valid reason. In the Hanafi school, if a person misses a day of fasting unnecessarily, he or she should either fast for 60 consecutive days or feed 60 poor people.

Who should pay kaffara?

Kaffara is paid by any adult Muslim who misses a fast or makes their fast invalid during Ramadan without a good reason and if they cannot fast at a later time for 60 continuous days. Below is a list of examples of how a fast can be broken or made invalid:

  • Intentionally eating or drinking during fasting hours
  • Sexual intercourse or masturbation during fasting
  • Intentionally making yourself throw up
  • Planning or intending to deliberately miss fasts
  • Deliberately hurting yourself or any other person or animal

What is the required payment?

To atone for the intentionally missed/invalidated fast, a person must fast continuously for 60 days. If they are unable to do that, they should feed 60 poor people. The Hanafi school holds the view that kaffara is due once for every Ramadan in which fasts were deliberatively missed or invalidated, not for each individual fast missed.

In the UK this is at a rate of £5 per person (the average cost of two meals in the UK). This amounts to £300 kaffara per Ramadan.

As with fidya, kaffara is only valid if one will never be able to fast for 60 consecutive days. In circumstances where someone regains their health and can fast later in life, the kaffara they paid will be considered as charity and they must then make up the fasts missed.