What a fasting person should do as a Kaffarah (Atonement) when he/she does one of the things that invalidate the fast?

The Details of the Question

What a fasting person should do as a Kaffarah (Atonement) when he/she does one of the things that invalidate the fast?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Hz Abu Hurayrah R.A. narrates:

A man came to the Prophet and said:

O Messenger of Allah, I am ruined.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: "What has brought about your ruin?"

"I have had intercourse with my wife (while I was fasting) in Ramadan. Upon this, the Prophet (pbuh) said:

"Can you find a slave to set him free?"

He said: “No!”

The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Can you observe fast for two consecutive months?

He said: “No!”

The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Can you provide food for 60 poor people?"

He said: “No!”

Then the Prophet said to him, "Sit down!”

Meanwhile, a big basket which contained dates was brought to the Apostle of Allah.

The Prophet (pbuh) searched the man by asking: “Where is the questioner?”

The man answered, “It’s me! I’m here!” then The Prophet (pbuh) said:

"Give these dates in charity.”

The man said: Am I to give to one who is poorer than me? I swear to Allah that there is no family poorer than mine between the two lava plains of Medina.

The Prophet (pbuh) laughed and said:

“Then go and give it to your family to eat!
(Bukhari, Sawm: 29, 31; Muslim, Siyam: 81; Muwatta, Siyam: 28; Abu Dawud, Sawm: 37; Tirmidhi, Sawm: 28)

In this Hadith, Our prophet informs us about “Kaffarah” with a very delicate way of expression to a person who had intercourse with his wife in the month of Ramadan. The subject is clear in terms of fiqh and present in all of the fiqh books. It is practiced as it is mentioned in the Hadith.

However, our Prophet (PBUH) teaches about the easiness that is present in Islam. He is teaching us not to put great pressure on people, behaving with tolerance towards them and not to alienate people from Islam.

Both Qadha and Kaffarah are required for a person who does any of the things listed below intentionally, without being forced to, without difficulty and by forgetting from the time of Imsaq (abstinence) until the Maghrib adhan:

1- Having sexual intercourse.
2- Eating, drinking or taking a medicine.
3- Deliberate swallowing of rain, hail or snow water drops that enter mouth involuntarily.
4- Smoking, burning and inhaling tobacco or any type of incense material.
5- Taking Snuff.
6- Eating suet, dried meat or raw meat.
7- Swallowing or eating something in the size of a sesame seed by chewing.
8- Eating a little salt. (As for eating much salt, it only requires Qadha.)
9- Swallowing of one’s wife’s or lover’s saliva, mouthwash. The things that are listed here contain the cure, nourishment and pleasure of the body. Thus, they require both qadha and Kaffarah.

The Kaffarah of intentional breaking of Ramadan fasting: It is a sin if there is not a valid excuse for the intentional breaking of a definite (compulsory) fard fasting. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The expiation for spoiling a fast in Ramadan is like the expiation for zihar” (Ibnu'l- Humam, Fathu'l-Qadir, II, 70).

Therefore, a person who breaks his fast intentionally is obliged to fast 60 days successively. This is fard (compulsory) for that person. Besides, he/she has to perform qadha for the spoiled fast. “There is no Kaffarah apart from the compulsory (fard) fasting such as nafila (supererogatory) fasting because breaking a fast during the month of Ramadan constitutes a sin. And it is not evaluated in the same way as Nafila (supererogatory) fasting.” (Marghinani, ibid, I, 125).

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