Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarokatuh
Ibu Nyai, my name is Riana from Banten, a mother of 2 toddlers. I would like to inquire about qada’ rules of Ramadhan fasting and payment of fidyah in Islam.

In Ramadan last year (2010), I was pregnant and my body condition was very weak (I needed to have bed rest) so I was forbidden to fast by the doctor. I once heard from an Ustadz (teacher) who gave a lecture in our neighbouring mosque, that women who did not fast due to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, have to pay fidyah as many as the days she had missed. I had paid fidyah 30 days for the poor in form of money.

The question is whether I paid enough fidyah or should I also do qada in fasting? How does Islam /fiqh regulate about qada fasting? Needless to say, I only paid fidyah and did not fast because I’m breastfeeding my baby, it’s hard to fast in ordinary days. In this case, do I still owe fasting? Please explain. For your answers and explanations, thank you very much.
Wassalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarokatuh,
Riana, Banten
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Answer:

Wa’alaikumussalam Warahmatullahi Wabarokatuh,
Dear Ibu Riana,
Before I answer the question, first let me congratulate you for the birth of your second child, hopefully she grow well, pious and always spreads peace on this earth. Amen.

Ibu Riana  whom Allah loves,
Islam provides rukhsoh (relief) for pregnant and breastfeeding women not to fast during Ramadan. Especially considering the condition of Ibu Riana who required bed rest during pregnancy. The step you took is precisely right, not to fast to avoid mudharat (harm), as the Words of Allah Swt:
“And spend in the way of Allåh and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands and do good (to others). Surely Allåh loves the doers of good.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 195)

In the context of fasting, lack of food intake during pregnancy can adversely affect the condition of the mother and fetus, it is a mudharat that should be anticipated by the pregnant women.

In dealing with pregnant women whose physical condition does not allow fasting, some ulama (scholars) such as ibn’ Abbas, ibn ‘Umar and some other mufassir (the writer of a commentary on Al Qur’an) think that the pregnant mothers are only obliged to redeem their fasting by paying fidyah without having to do qada (refers to fulfilling or completing those duties that one may have missed due to some reason or other) in fasting. They base their opinions on the Words of Allah Swt:
“For a certain number of days. But whoever among you is sick or on a journey, (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days. And those who find it extremely hard may effect redemption by feeding a poor man. So whoever does good spontaneously, it is better for him; and that you fast is better for you if you know.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 184)

“The people who are heavy to fast” category is a very old person whose body condition is weak, severely ill people whose hope to heal is small, heavy laborers throughout the year (such as coal miners), pregnant and breast feeding women.

Pregnant women are categorized as heavy to fast because of the condition of pregnancy itself in Al Qur’an is described as a “wahnan ‘a la wahnin” (so weak) that it requires more food intake than non-pregnant women. Pregnant women in addition to think about her own health also must think of the growing fetus inside the womb.

Ibu Riana who is blessed by Allah,
There are some ulama other than those above, do not categorize pregnant women as “the people who are heavy to fast” but only as sick people. Al Qur’an mentions people who are sick and ordinary people who travel may not fast, but they should do qada:
“For a certain number of days. But whoever among you is sick or on a journey, (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days. And those who find it extremely hard may effect redemption by feeding a poor man. So whoever does good spontaneously, it is better for him; and that you fast is better for you if you know.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 184)

Well, the ulama who do not consider pregnant woman as “the people who are heavy to fast”, analogize the expecting mother as sick person, so the pregnant women should do qada their fasting.

Ibu Riana who is blessed by Allah,
Summing up the above two opinions, actually the pregnant women who did not fast Ramadhan, can choose between paying fidyah or doing qada. That choice must necessarily be based on the principle of essence of Islamic law, that is not creating difficulties, as Words of Allah explains the purpose of granting relief for not fasting:
“The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’ån was revealed, a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion. So whoever of you is present in the month, he shall fast therein, and whoever is sick or on a journey, (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days. Allåh desires ease for you, and He desires not hardship for you, and (He desires) that you should complete the number and that you should exalt the greatness of Allåh for having guided you and that you may give thanks.” (QS al-Baqarah: 185)

The verse explains that Allah does not want to complicate His servants in performing sharia of Islam, so rukhsoh (relief) in tasyri ‘ is a necessary. Based on principle mentioned above, it is enough for Ibu Riana to pay fidyah considering your condition in pregnancy and breast feeding, it will be difficult to fast in ordinary days. Hopefully my answer can be useful for you, Wallahu’alam (Allah knows best). []

 

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