01 Feb, 2023 | Wednesday 9-Rajab-1444

The aim of this religion is not to burden people to a point that they will be incapable physically of carrying out the duties mandated by Allah (SWT). This is why when there is clear evidence that fasting will result in the opposite of the intended result, namely endangering the sanctity of life itself, the Lawgiver (Shaari'e), makes room for the believer. By physical disability ('al-'ajis), we mean the old person who is mentally sound but physically weak, and observation of the fast would further weaken his body. Also, at this point, the fast is not mandatory for the old person because he is unable to do so. In the case of the terminally ill, like cancer or AIDS patient whose fasting may worsen their condition, Allah (SWT) states:

"...So fear Allah as much as you can" (Al-Qur'an 64:16) Also, "On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear..." (Al-Qur'an 2:286). These two verses indicate that when the body is no longer capable of executing the prescribed duties, the pen that records the deeds ceases to record. These people who have been allowed to break their fast of Ramadan would have to compensate for every day that they break by feeding one indigent person.

Before the fasting of Ramadan was prescribed to the believers, everyone was given a choice between fasting or feeding. This is what Al-Qur'an refers to in chapter "Al-Baqarah":

"...for those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of indigent..." (Al-Qur'an 2:184). This verse was abrogated by the verse of Ramadan.

When a believer is incapable of fasting due to the reasons mentioned above, feeding becomes a substitute.