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Permission for the Elderly to Break the Fast and the Permanently Sick
Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) stated: “Permission was granted to the old man that he may break his fast and instead to feed a poor person for every day missed, and not to make up the fasts.”
So this is another type of allowance. The old man who is not able to fast and is of sound mind is commanded to pay fidyah (recompense). This fidyah is to feed a poor person for each day missed with half a sā’ which is 1.2 kilograms of staple food (per day). There is no qadā (making up) of the fast for him because he is unable just as Allah (the Most High) stated:
وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ
“And as for those who can only fast with difficulty (an old man, etc.), they have to feed a poor person for each day.”
This also applies to those who are permanently sick, and recovery is not expected ―so upon them, too, is the command, “they have to feed a poor person for each day.” And fidyah (compensation) replaces the fast.
As for the one who is expected to recover from his illness, then he must make up the fasts (qadā) that he has missed in accordance with the saying of Allah (the Most High):
وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ
“And whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number of days which one did not observe fasts must be made up from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. He wants that you must complete the same number of days.”
These are the categories of people who are allowed to break the fast:
1. The traveller, who must make up what he has missed (qadā).
2. The sick person who is expected to recover. He must also make up what he has missed (qadā).
3. The sick person who is not expected to recover from his illness. His fidyah (compensation) is to feed a poor person for each day missed with 1.2 kilograms of staple food.
4. The old man or woman who can break their fast (or not fast to begin with) ―they each feed a poor person for every day they missed (fidyah) and they do not make up the fast.
5. The menstruating woman or the one who is bleeding after childbirth (postpartum blood). It is forbidden for them to fast, and they must make up whatever days they have missed (qadā). And if they fast, their fast is invalidated.
From this discussion, it is clear that those who are allowed to break the fast fall into one of two categories:
1. They break the fast and make qadā (make up the days missed at a later stage).
2. Break the fast and do not make up the fast but instead give fidyah in the form of staple food to the poor (not cash).
Note: Fidyah is not paid in cash, it is given in food.
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 Ad-Dāruqutni (2/205) and Al-Hākim (1/440) both of whom graded it sahīh and Adh-Dhahabi agreed in his At-Talkhīs (1/440).
 Source: Al-‘Allāmah, Ash-Shaikh Ahmad bin Yahyā An-Najmi (rahimahullāh) dated 27/7/1425 AH. I have a copy of this document of our Shaikh, may Allah have mercy upon him.
 Al-Baqarah: 184.
 Al-Baqarah: 185.