A bronchial asthma patient

Q: I want to inform Your Eminence that I have been suffering from asthma (Part No. 10; Page No. 175) since 1382 A.H. The disease has worsened gradually to the extent that I must use an inhaler for asthma every half an hour and sometimes every one or two hour, according to the mildness of the weather and its impact. I am also forced to take various tranquilizers once, twice or three times per day, according to the intensity of the persistent asthma allergy. I have had several medical reports, all of them reveal the severity of the illness, and exactly reflect what I feel and suffer. I ask Your Eminence whether it is permissible for me not to observe Sawm (Fast) in Ramadan and what I should do to expiate for this since I cannot observe Sawm. May Allah guide you!

A: If the reality is as you have mentioned, then there is nothing wrong if you do not observe Sawm in Ramadan. Yet the days during which you did not observe Sawm are still a debt on you, i.e., you have to make up for them once you recover and become able to observe Sawm. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says: ...and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. On the other hand, if you remain sick and a specialized doctor decides that this illness is most likely to be incurable, then you have to feed one Miskin (needy) person for each day you do not observe Sawm on, by giving this Miskin half a Sa` (1 Sa`=3 kg. Approx.) of staple food; such as wheat, dates, rice, etc. You do not have to make up for these days based on Allah's saying: Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope. And: ...and He has not laid upon you in religion any hardship (Part No. 10; Page No. 176) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.