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Nursing mother wants to feed the poor rather than fast in Ramadan

Published: 25/08/2011 08:01:00 AM GMT
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My wife gave birth now in the month of Ramadan and she is presently nursing our newborn baby. She is unable to fast and breastfeed at the same time. Does she really have to make up all those days later on? Can’t she just expiate for the missed days by feeding a poor person for each missed day?

Answered by

Sheikh Muhammad b. `Abd Allah al-Mijlî, presiding judge at the Mecca District Court

A nursing mother who finds fasting in Ramadan difficult for her is fully within her rights to abstain from fasting.

A pregnant woman and a nursing mother, if they break their fasts on account of their condition, take the same ruling as those who break their fasts because they are ill or on a journey. This means that they must make up the missed fasts at a later date, when doing so becomes easy for them.

There have been a few scholars who held the opinion that pregnant women and nursing mothers can simply opt to expiate for the missed days by feeding a poor person for each day missed. However, this opinion is not a strong one.

The correct ruling is that these women have to make up the fasts that they miss. Allah says: “Whoever among you who is ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 184]

The application of this ruling to pregnant women and nursing mothers is made clear in the following hadîth.

Anas b. Mâlik relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah has excused the traveler from the obligation to fast and from half the units of his prayer. He has excused the pregnant woman and the nursing mother from fasting.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (715), Sunan Abî Dâwûd (2408), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1667)]

This indicates to us that the ruling for the traveler being excused from fasting is the same as that of a nursing mother. Since the traveler must make up his fast later on, so must the nursing mother.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

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