Salah and Sawm of an elderly patient

Q 2: There is a very elderly woman who is around 85 years old. She is bedridden and cannot even get up to answer nature's call. Is it obligatory on her to perform the Salah (prayer) and to observe the Sawm (fast)? Please enlighten us, may Allah reward you well!

A: If the reality is as you mentioned, then she is required to perform the Salah so long as she is sane and comprehends the acts of Salah, and she does that to the best of her ability even if it is by mere gestures. Allah (Exalted be He) says: So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can He also says: Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope. It was reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "If I order you to do something, do as much of it as you can." Similarly, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to `Imran ibn Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him): "Pray while standing and if you cannot, then pray while sitting. If you cannot even do that, then pray while lying on your side." (Related by Al-Bukhari). Al-Nasa'y reported the same Hadith with a sound Sanad (chain of narrators) and he added: (Part No. 10; Page No. 166)  "…and if you cannot even do that, then pray lying on your back." If she is able to fast, then she must do so. But if she finds it difficult, then she is allowed to break her fast and to feed a needy person for every day that she does not fast. In this case, she is not required to make up for the missed days of fasting. It is sufficient for her to give a needy person half a Sa` (1 Sa`=3 kg. Approx.) of dates, wheat, rice or other such foods that people usually eat for each day she misses. If however, she is not sane, then she is not required to pray or fast.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.