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Forcing a Sick Person to Break Fast.

All praise be to Allaah.

Sickness is one of the excuses which make it permissible not to fast. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days”

[al-Baqarah 2:185]

Fasting of a sick person can be considered as either makhroo or haram. Fasting becomes makhroo if the person who is fasting has difficulty in doing in. It is considered haram if the fast will harm him.

A sick person should only stop fasting if prescribed by the trustworthy doctor who specializes in that disease. Some scholars are of the view that the doctor should be Muslim too. If a person does not fast on the advice of a doctor, there is no sin on him. If it is a chronic – permanent – disease then he may not fast and he should feed one poor person for each day. If it is a temporary sickness, then he may break the fast and make it up after he recovers.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

If specialist doctors determine that this sickness of yours is one for which there is no hope of a cure, then you must feed one poor person for every day of Ramadaan, and you do not have to fast. The measure of that (food to be given) is half a saa’ of the local staple food, whether it is dates, rice or something else. If you invite a poor person for a meal, lunch or dinner, that is sufficient. But if the doctor determines that there is hope for recovery from your sickness, then you do not have to feed a poor person, rather you have to make up the missed fasts when Allaah grants you healing from that disease, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days”

[al-Baqarah 2:185]
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about a person who was affected by a chronic disease and the doctors advised him never to fast, but he consulted doctors in another country and was healed by Allaah’s leave. Five Ramadaans have passed and he did not fast. What should he do after Allaah has healed him? Should he make them up or not?

He replied:

If the doctors who advised him never to fast were Muslims, trustworthy and familiar with this sickness, and they told him that there was no hope of recovery for him, then he does not have to make it up, and it is sufficient for him to feed poor persons (one for every day missed), but he has to fast in the future.

And Allaah knows best.

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