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What is the Difference Between Fidyah and Kaffarah?

Remember, there’s a big difference in the intention of not being able to fast and not doing so for other reasons. And there’s also a big financial difference between fidyah and kaffarah.

As Muslims, Ramadan is an important time of self-sacrifice and giving. However, what happens if you can’t fast? Or if you break your fast without a medical-related reason?

Well, here’s all the information you need to know.

Fidyah: When you’re unable to fast

When considering fasting, your health comes first – it’s Allah’s order!

If your health means that you’re not able to fast during Ramadan and make up the days later (due to the ongoing health concerns), then you’ll need to pay fidyah

Fidyah is due for people who cannot fast, through no fault of their own and would be unable to make up fasts later

For example, you could be:

  • Pregnant and/or breastfeeding: This Ramadan if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you are exempt from fasting. If before next Ramadan you’re breastfeeding, you won’t be able to make up the days and so can pay fidyah instead
  • Diabetic: Fasting is not recommended at all for people with diabetes – both inside and outside of Ramadan. You can pay fidyah instead
  • On frequent medication: If you need to take medication throughout the day, your health requirements mean that you are exempt from fasting
  • Living with another (ongoing) health issue: Any condition which requires you to eat and drink regularly or which can be affected negatively by fasting will exempt you from fasting.

In all cases, please speak to your GP for expert medical advice. 

If you are exempt, fidyah covers the cost of a meal for a person in need. You will need to pay fidyah for each fast you miss. This is around £5 per meal missed – the cost of an average meal in the UK.

Find out more here on how to calculate and donate your fidyah. 

Kaffarah: When you’re able to fast

Kaffarah donations pay for meals for people in need.

Unlike fidyah, kaffarah refers to missing your fast deliberately without a good reason.

What this means is that if you intentionally miss/break a fast and are healthy (able) physically and mentally to fast, you’ll need to pay kaffarah. However, to atone for the missed/intentionally broken fast, you must also fast continuously for 60 days. 

If you are unable to do so, then you need to feed 60 poor people at a rate of £5 per person. Therefore, this amounts to £300 for each missed/intentionally broken fast.

You can find out more, calculate and pay kaffarah here

Remember, there’s a big difference in the intention of not being able to fast and not doing so for other reasons. And there’s also a big financial difference between fidyah and kaffarah.

Whether you’re able to fast or not, the month of Ramadan is a sacred time with lots of ways to worship Allah (SWT). 

From everyone at Islamic Relief, we’d like to wish you a blessed Ramadan.

Ramadan Mubarak!

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