Does a person who cannot fast and who does not have any money have to give fidyah?

The Details of the Question

- Do the children of that person have to pay fidyah for him/her?
- My grandmother is almost a hundred years old and she cannot fast. However, she does not have any money. Who has to give fidyah for her?
- She has two sons and five daughters but some of them do not care. What should we do? How much should we give for a month of fidyah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

If you wish, you can give fidyah on behalf of your grandmother. Since your grandmother has no income, she does not have to pay fidyah. An ill person needs to perform fasting for the days that he/she has missed when he/she recovers. Only the ill people that have no chance of improvement can give fidyah.

A Muslim who is too ill to perform fasting gives fidyah for each day that he/she cannot fast. This fidyah replaces fasting. The amount of fidyah is the same as the amount of fidyah.

Fidyah for fasting is definite by a verse:

"(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more of his own free-will―it is better for him, and it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew." (al-Baqara, 2/184)

As it is understood from the clear expression of the verse, fidyah (ransom) for fasting is given when it is not possible to perform fasting due to an excuse like illness and old age.

If a person gives fidyah but recovers afterwards, he/she has to perform fasting for the days he/she has missed; the fidyah he/she has given is not enough. In that case, if he/she dies before fasting them, he/she needs to ask his/her inheritors to give fidyah for him/her. If he/she dies before he/she recovers, the fidyah he/she has given is enough; he/she does not have to ask inheritors to give fidyah.

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