FAQs & Fatwas Fasting & Ramadan

Does Every Pregnant Woman Have to Make Up Her Fasts from Ramadan?

Fasting and Fidya Regarding the Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mother

A common question and concern for Muslim women has been the rules regarding fasting and making up fasts or paying fidya during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are numerous classical answers amongst the major scholars and companions. It should be made clear that there is one primary cause for these differences that will help us understand the issue.

Should the pregnant and breastfeeding mother be compared with the temporarily sick, who has to make up his fasts after Ramadan, or should she be compared with the elderly or chronically sick who are incapable of fasting and pay fidya (feeding a poor person) in place of fasting, or should she be compared to both?

Some Major Opinions on the Issue:

  1. She should both make up her missed fasts and pay fidya.
  2. She should only make up her missed fasts.
  3. She should only pay the fidya.
  4. Differentiate between the two: The pregnant woman has to make up her fasts, and the breastfeeding mom should make up her fasts and pay fidya.

My Preferred Opinion:

Generally, the fidya is considered to be the equivalent of fasting (badl) and it is not normal in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) for one to have to perform the wajib (obligatory) and its equivalent (badl). Thus, it should be either fasting or fidya, and not both.

The reason that women are allowed a concession to not fast in Ramadan is out of concern for their health and well-being. If a woman wants to fast during her pregnancy and breastfeeding, she should consult her doctor to see if fasting during pregnancy or breastfeeding would be ok for her and her child. If the doctor approves, the woman may fast Ramadan or even parts of it (as long as she has the energy and health). However, even if the doctor gives his ok, but the woman is still concerned and scared, she may skip fasting Ramadan.

In regards to atoning for the missed fasts, there are a few considerations.

If a breastfeeding mother is concerned for her or her child’s health (like her milk running dry, her feeling weak, the baby not getting enough nutrition), then she may elect to pay the fidya for each day she missed and that would be sufficient. She would NOT have to make up any fasts. This applies to days she missed during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

However, if after delivering, she does not breastfeed her child and her health is okay, then she should make up her fasts that she missed during pregnancy.

Thus, the breastfeeding woman is compared to someone with continuous hardship in fasting (since she may not have fasted for one year during pregnancy, and 1-2 years of breastfeeding, and if she gets pregnant again this process would continue longer), while the mother who does not breastfeed is more like someone who was temporarily sick (her pregnancy) and capable of making up her fasts later.

About the author

Osman Umarji

Osman Umarji

Osman Umarji was born in West Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California Irvine in 2005 with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering where he served as president of the Muslim Student Union. He worked as an engineer for four years, specializing in mobile communications. Osman moved with his wife to Cairo to pursue Islamic Studies and is currently majoring in Islamic Law and Legal Theory at Al-Azhar University. His areas of focus are Hadith and Legal Theory. His hobbies include reading, playing sports, and traveling. He previously served as the Director of the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco in Southern California. Osman can be reached at oumarji@gmail.com.

1 Comment

  • AssalaamuAlaikum,
    Could you please clarify at what point this fatwa can be applied?
    The article states if a women can ‘expect’ to miss multiple Ramadhans, they can pay fidya. But surely you only knows if you will miss more than one, when you actually have, not before? So it can only be applied in retrospect?
    Even with the best intensions to nurse a child, not everyone ends up breastfeeding, or will stop breastfeeding before the child is 1yr. Sometimes through reasons entirely out of their control. Similarly you may intend to become pregnant again immediately after giving birth, therefore missing two or more ramadhans, but Allah has other plans and you don’t conceive until 18 months later, for example.
    So at what point do you change your intentions from intending to be catagorised as temporary and making them up by fasting, to making them up by paying fidya. Can the decision only be made for certain, rather than likely hood, in retrospect, once you have missed two ramadhans?
    JazakuAllah Khyar

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