How is kaffarah fasting performed? If a person breaks fasting in Ramadan more than one day, how many times does he have to perform kaffarah fasting? Does kaffarah fasting become necessary if a person does not fast in Ramadan?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Since it is fard to fast in Ramadan, kaffarah fasting is not performed in Ramadan. It can be performed in any of the other months.

If a person breaks, without an excuse, his fast, which he has begun by intention, in the month of Ramadan, he has to fast for two months as kaffarah.

If a person breaks fasting more than once like that in the same Ramadan or in different years, one kaffarah is enough for him. If he cannot fast, he will feed sixty poor people.

Kaffarah fasting is performed for two lunar months. For example, if a person fasts for two months on end in the months of Rabiulakhir and Rajab, he is regarded to have performed fasting for kaffarah. He does not have to perform fasting for sixty days. For instance, if the month of Rabiulakhir is thirty days but Rajab is twenty-nine days in that year, he will fast for fifty-nine days in total. He adds one day as qada; so, he fasts for sixty days.

However, if he starts the kaffarah fasting, say, on the fifth day or the tenth day of the month, not on the first day, he has to complete sixty days no matter how many days those months are. When he adds one day for qada, he wil have fasted for sixty-one days.  

It is necessary to fast two months or sixty days without interruption for kaffarah fasting. For example, if a journey, sickness, the month of Ramadan, eid, or puerperium for women, etc interrupts kaffarah fasting, before sixty days are completed, the fasting that has been performed is regarded as nafilah, not kaffarah; therefore, it has to be started again.

The period of menstruation of women is not regarded as an obstacle that interrupts kaffarah. When the menstruation period is over, she resumes fasting.

The qada fasting of one day is not calculated together with kaffarah fasting. That is, a person who performs kaffarah fasting for two months, performs the qada fasting separately; he does not add it to kaffarah fasting and does not calculate them together. For example, a person who starts fasting on the first day of Rajab and continues in the month of Shaban without interruption is regarded to have completed kaffarah fasting. He can perform the qada fasting after Ramadan, for instance, on the second day of eid. Thus, both the kaffarah and qada are regarded to have been completed. It does not matter if the month of Rajab or Shaban is twenty-nine days. Kaffarah fasting is completed when two months end. That is, kaffarah fasting becomes complete. (see al-Madhahibul-Arbaa, I/579)

We should state that according to Hanbali madhhab, if kaffarah fasting is interrupted due to a legitimate excuse like travelling, this interruption does not violate the condition of continuousness. Therefore, the two-month kaffarah fasting is resumed; it is not necessary to start from the very beginning again (Jaziri, Madhahib, 1/579)

A person who cannot fast two months on end due to a severe hardship, excessive difficulty or a similar reason can feed sixty poor people instead.

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