Ruling on feeding the needy by those who are unable to fast Ramadan
Q: I want to ask you about
the ruling on feeding the needy for those who are weak in Ramadan,
such as weak elderly men and women, those who are ill and not expected to recover, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers whose milk would dry up if they fast.
Anyone who is unable to fast during Ramadan either due to old age - an elderly man or woman - or anyone who experiences extreme difficulty when they fast, have been granted a concession to break their Sawm (fast). It is obligatory upon them to feed a needy person for every day of Sawm that they missed. They should give each needy person half a Sa` (1 Sa`=3 kg. Approx.) of wheat, dates, rice, or anything similar, from the type of food that they usually feed their family. The same applies to someone who is ill and unable to fast or anyone who experiences extreme difficulty when they fast, and is not likely to recover. Allah (Exalted be He) says:
Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope.
He also says:
...and He has not laid upon you in religion any hardship
And He says:
And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskîn (poor person) (for every day).
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said:
"A concession was revealed for elderly men and women who are unable to fast, that they may break their Sawm and feed a needy person for every day (they did not fast)."
The ruling for those who are ill (Part No. 10; Page No. 161) and are unable to fast, or experience extreme hardship if they fast and are not likely to recover, is the same as for the elderly who are not strong enough to fast.
Pregnant women who fear that harm will come to themselves or their babies from the Sawm and breastfeeding women who fear that harm will come to themselves or their suckling babies from the Sawm, may break their Sawm and make up for the days that they missed. They are similar in this ruling to those who are ill and hope for recovery if they break their Sawm.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.