What exactly is Fedyah (Fidya)?
Fedyah (Fidya) serves as a compassionate provision in Islam for those unable to fast during Ramadan due to genuine reasons such as old age, illness, or disability. In place of the missed fasts, one is required to feed a less fortunate individual for each day of fasting that they couldn't observe. However, if circumstances like illness or travel caused someone temporarily unable to fast, they should compensate by observing these fasts at a later time when they're able.
How do we determine the amount for Fedyah (Fidya)?
The amount for Fedyah (Fidya) equates to feeding a disadvantaged person two full meals for a day or providing enough whole wheat to suffice for two meals. To ensure relevancy and fairness, the rate is based on the prevailing cost of wheat in one's local area. If one misses all the fasts of Ramadan due to valid reasons and can't make them up later, Fedyah (Fidya) becomes obligatory.
Are there valid reasons why certain individuals are exempted from fasting during Ramadan?
There are indeed valid circumstances under which certain individuals may be exempted from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. For guidelines concerning compensatory actions for deliberately neglected Ramadan fasts, kindly refer here.
The first set of exemptions relate to temporary conditions, such as illness, travel, or physiological conditions like pregnancy and breastfeeding. Individuals who fall into this category, when utilizing this exemption, are required to compensate by fasting an equivalent number of days after Ramadan when they are capable.
For these individuals, there's no need to pay a compensation fee, known as fidyah, for their missed fasting days. This is because their reasons for missing the fast do not necessitate such payments.
The foundation for this exemption is found in the Quran: "Yet if one among you is sick or is on a journey, [they should then fast] the same number of other days” (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:185).
Furthermore, with regard to pregnancy and breastfeeding, their exemption is based on the equivalence of their hardship to that of sickness. It's also worth noting that the respected Companion Ibn ‘Abbas reportedly advised his wife, who was either pregnant or breastfeeding, that she fell under the category of those finding it challenging to fast, alluding to the Quran’s mention of such individuals.
The second category encompasses those with permanent reasons, such as old age-related infirmities or chronic illnesses rendering fasting an insurmountable challenge. For these individuals, there's a requirement to offer a compensatory fee, fidyah, for each missed day. However, they aren't obligated to make up for the missed fasts. The basis for this ruling is from the Quran: “Yet for those who find it a strain, a compensation is to feed a person in need” (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:184).
How much should one pay for Fedyah (Fidya) in Ramadan 2023?
The set amount for Fedyah (Fidya) in Ramadan 2023 is $5 for each unobserved fast. This sum should be sufficient to offer two meals to one individual or one meal to two individuals.
How do Fedyah (Fidya) and Kaffarah differ?
While both serve as compensations, Fedyah (Fidya) is given when a fast is missed for a valid reason, whereas Kaffarah is due when a fast is deliberately broken without any genuine reason. Fedyah (Fidya) is equivalent to feeding one person, but Kaffarah requires feeding 60 people.
Who is required to pay Fedyah (Fidya)?
Fedyah (Fidya) is obligatory for those unable to fast due to reasons like illness or old age, making it impossible for them to make up for the missed fasts later.
Who are the rightful recipients of Fedyah (Fidya)?
The underprivileged and needy are the rightful beneficiaries of Fedyah (Fidya). In essence, Fedyah (Fidya), similar to zakat, is designated for those who qualify to receive zakat.
How and when should Fedyah (Fidya) be paid?
Ideally, Fedyah (Fidya) should be disbursed before the fast it compensates for is due. For instance, if one knows they won't be fasting throughout Ramadan, they should pay Fedyah (Fidya) before the month commences. Given the digitised world, Fedyah (Fidya) donations can conveniently be made online.
Is it mandatory to pay Fedyah (Fidya)?
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, making it a fundamental act of worship. If one misses this obligation with or without a valid reason, compensations like Kaffarah or Fedyah (Fidya) become mandatory. This mandate underlines the profound importance of Ramadan in Islam.