A newly-delivered woman's obligation to make up for missed days of fast and not to feed the needy by Ijma`
Q: We read in some Islamic books that
when a newly delivered, breastfeeding, or pregnant woman breaks her fast in Ramadan, she must make up for the days on which she breaks her fast.
However, I read in the book entitled, Tuhfat Al-`Arus that a woman who has just delivered, is breastfeeding, or pregnant does not have to make up for her missed days of fast, and she should only offer Fidyah (ransom). This view is reinforced by a Hadith that reads:
When the pregnant and breastfeeding women break their fast, they have to offer Fidyah and do not have to make up for the days in which they broke fast .
The author of Tuhfat Al-`Arus is
Mahmud Mahdy Al-Istanbully,
and the above quote is mentioned in page 302.
If the matter is as you have mentioned, then what is mentioned in that book is untrue. According to the Ijma` (consensus of scholars), a woman who has just delivered has to make up for the days on which she broke her fast, and she is not obligated to offer the Fidyah (ransom) of feeding the needy. As to pregnant and breastfeeding women, they should make up for the fast if they had broken it on account of their fear for their own safety and that of their babies. (Part No. 9; Page No. 76) They do not have to feed the needy except if they negligently had delayed making up for the fast with no Shar`y (Islamically lawful) excuse until the next Ramadan. In this case, they should make up for the fast and feed a needy person for each day on which they had broken their fast. The rule according to which they should make up for it is evidenced by Allah's Saying:
So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, 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.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women take the same ruling as that of the ill, when they find the fast hard on them. Feeding only is sole concession given to two categories: the elderly who cannot fast due to their old age, and the ill whose recovery is not hoped for, since they are unable to make up for their fast. This is based on Allah's Saying:
Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope.
This was also authentically reported from a group of Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them).May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his Companions.