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Islam held people responsible according to their strength and introduced facilitating decrees on cases in which people may have difficulty and which may cause them trouble. Those who have such excuses as the following are not held responsible for fasting and they are permitted perform it later; or they may pay fidyah instead.

a) Journey

Journey is considered as an excuse for not fasting in Ramadan. Those who cannot fast during a journey can perform it later. The following is stated in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! Prescribed for you is the Fast, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may deserve God's protection (against the temptations of your carnal soul) and attain piety.(Fasting is for) a fixed number of days. If any of you is so ill that he cannot fast, or on a journey, he must fast the same number of other days. But for those who can no longer manage to fast, there is a redemption (penance) by feeding a person in destitution (for each day missed, or giving him the same amount in money). Yet better it is for him who volunteers greater good (by either giving more, or fasting in case of recovery), and that you should fast (when you are able to) is better for you, if you but knew (the worth of fasting).” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:183-184)

Those who intend at night to fast and set on a journey during the day may break their fast or they may continue it if they wish. Those who intend at night to fast but who have to go on a journey during the day might break their fast if they have problem in fasting. However, it is better to continue it. When the Prophet set on the journey to conquer Mecca, he broke his fast when they arrived at a place called Qadid. (Bukhari, Sawm, 34; Muslim, Siyam, 15). This shows that fast may be broken while on journey.

b) Illness

Those whose illnesses may get worse or prolong due to fasting and those who have difficulty in fasting due to their illnesses are permitted not to fast and to perform it when they recover. The verse mentioned above points out to it. If an expert doctor states that person is going to be ill if he fasts, he is regarded as an ill person.

c) Pregnancy and suckling

Provided that fasting may damage them and their children, pregnant women are permitted not to fast. Nursing women are also permitted not to fast for fear that their milk runs out and their children may be damaged. The Prophet permitted this. (Nasai, Siyam, 50-51:62; Ibn Majah, Siyam, 3)

d) Doing hard and tiring jobs

Those who are afraid of getting ill due to fasting are permitted not to fast. Such people may fast on their day-offs or perform their fast when they have the opportunity to do so. Those who do hard jobs as an obligation may perform their fast when they have the opportunity to do so on condition that their health comes under risk if they are to work fasting.

This issue is explained in the Qur’an as follows: “O you who believe! Prescribed for you is the Fast, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may deserve God's protection (against the temptations of your carnal soul) and attain piety.(Fasting is for) a fixed number of days. If any of you is so ill that he cannot fast, or on a journey, he must fast the same number of other days. But for those who can no longer manage to fast, there is a redemption (penance) by feeding a person in destitution (for each day missed, or giving him the same amount in money). Yet better it is for him who volunteers greater good (by either giving more, or fasting in case of recovery), and that you should fast (when you are able to) is better for you, if you but knew (the worth of fasting).The month of Ramadan, in which the Qur'an was sent down as guidance for people, and as clear signs of Guidance and the Criterion (between truth and falsehood). Therefore whoever of you is present this month must fast it, and whoever is so ill that he cannot fast or is on a journey (must fast the same) number of other days. God wills ease for you, and He does not will hardship for you, so that you can complete the number of the days required, and exalt God for He has guided you, and so it may be that you will give thanks (due to Him).” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:183-185)    

e) Old Age

Those who are too old to fast can pay fidyah instead of fasting. In the 184th verse of the Surah Al-Baqarah, it has been decreed that those who cannot manage to fast should pay fidyah instead of fasting. The sick people who are not expected to recover are subject to the same decree.