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Offline Reader Questions

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Fasting Whilst Pregnant
« on: July 02, 2014, 09:33:02 AM »
Salaam brother Joseph.

I wanted to ask you what the ruling on fasting is for an expectant mom. I'm in my 3rd trimester and I always keep fast in Ramadan sincerely but I can't this time. So I paid another person to do it for me but I'm told I need to make up these 30 day fasts later when I can. Is that correct as per the Quran? Also am I supposed to fast in this condition or even when I'm breastfeeding my child? Because that would be quite difficult too. Please help. Thank you.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Fasting Whilst Pregnant
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2014, 09:49:44 AM »
Dear Sister,

First of all, it is important to remember that any religious practice or duty is governed by the term 'istataat' (what one is able to do).

“So keep your duty to God as best you can / what you are able (Arabic: ma is’tata’tum), and listen, and obey, and spend; that is better for your souls. And whoso is saved from his own greed, such are the successful”

The Arabic word 'istata'a' means to be able, can or to be capable of. Therefore, given the above verse, one is only expected to do the best they can whilst striving in the way of God.

This is supported by the verse regarding fasting which says that 'God intends ease for you and not hardship' (yuridu'lahu bi'kumul-yusra wala yuridu bikumu-l-usra) 2:185

Fasting has indeed been prescribed on believers.  The options given by the Quran are as follows:

  • If you are sick, or on a journey, then you can make up the fast(s) at a later date (preferably / arguably before the next Ramadan) 2:184
  • If you do not fast (for whatever reason), then there is a 'fidya' (redemption / a ransom or an exchange like for like). This is the feeding of a needy person. (fid'yatun ta'-amu miskinin - 2:184). This should be the equivalent of what you would have eaten in accordance to your means. (For equivalent feeding - See 5:89)

It is noteworthy that although the option to ransom the fast is given (2:184), the Quran does state that it is better if one fasts (wa-an tasumu khayrun lakum in kuntum ta'lamun) if they intend to do good of their own accord. However, this does not take away the option to give ‘fidya’ which has been granted by the Quran.

In your circumstances, you are obviously aware of the fact that you are in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Unlike popular Muslim thought which equates pregnancy with sickness, I am more inclined towards the humble view that if there is a risk to the child during such an advanced pregnancy and long fasts, then one should exercise caution and take the latter option to feed another in need and to ransom the fast. After all, the option for ransom (fidya) is granted to believers. This is ultimately a judgement call for the expectant mother.

There is no expectation in this case to make up the fasts later. However, any extra fasts or acts of worship that are kept for the sake of God can only arguably benefit the soul. (and whoever volunteers good, then it is better for him – faman tatawa’a khayrun fahuwa khayrun lahu) – 2:184

I hope that helps, God willing


[1] Missing Fast In Ramadhan
[2] Missing Fasts for Ramadan and Compensation
[3] Saum
[4] Difference Between 'Isha' and 'Layl' in Context of Prayers and Fasting
[5] Can Women Pray and Fast During Menstruation?
[6] Praying and Fasting During Menses and Covering the Hair
[7] Discussing Fasting till Night
[8] Fasting on the Day of Ashura
[9] Fasting in Muharram and the Four Sacred Months
[10] When is the Best Time To Open the Fast According to the Quran?
[11] Purpose of Fasting
[12] End of Ramadan and Allegiances
[13] Ramadan
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell