My friend, Kawthar, asked me to publish a post on those who are exempted from fasting the obligatory fast of Ramadan, and I felt it was a most welcome idea considering the approach of Ramadan, Masha Allah. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is fard, and it's one of the pillars of Islam. Allah commanded In Q2:183 "O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain taqwa"
The heavily pregnant woman wonders, the sick man wonders, the nursing mother wonders, the traveller wonders, even the little children wonder, what can they do?? We have been commanded to fast but they find it difficult to do so. Alhamdulilah, they need not fret, for Allah doesn't burden a soul more than it can bear. reprieve has been provided in the following manner, for there is no matter on human life that Islam hasn't catered for.
THE PREGNANT WOMEN / NURSING MOTHERS
Anas ibn Malik relayed that the Prophet SAW said ' Allah has relieved a traveller from part of the prayers and relieved him along with pregnant and nursing women from fasting. The pregnant /nursing mother should break the fast if they fear injury to either themselves or their infants, however, they must offer restitution. In the opinion of some scholars, they women should offer restitution for the days missed by fasting those days, they linked the exemption for the pregnant and nursing mothers to that of Travellers, and since traveller's are to fast the days missed, the women should too. However, Ibn Abass used to say to a pregnant wife of his that ' you are In the same position as a person who finds fasting too much of a strain to bear, you may compensate for it without having to fast later on' the compensation here is the feeding of a poor person for all the days of fasting missed. And Allah knows best.
Considering the traveller, his situation is clearer, Allah SWT said in Q2:185 " but he who is ill or on a journey shall fast instead the same number of days Later on" this implies that the traveller can break his fast, it's a concession for him, a mercy from Allah, so he may not fast, but he must fast the days that he missed.
Sometimes, the healthy person who fears to get ill by fasting is treated as an ill person and also exempt from fasting. Example of such illnesses is stomach ulcer. The illnesses are divided into two. Terminal and temporary. The temporary ill can cease fasting for the period of the illness, but has to repay the missed days. The terminally ill however should pay compensation. The Old fall under This category too. And d compensation paid is called fidyah.. the feeding of a poor person for the duration of Ramadan. Alhamdulilah, Allah has asked us not to kill ourselves for He is most compassionate towards us Q4:29.
The little children who haven't attained the age of accountability are exempt from fasting. However, there is no harm in encouraging them to get used to fasting by devising several means. For example, they could fast from dawn to either 12, 2, or 4 pm... and for those who you believe can go further, encourage them and distract them with toys, just as it used to be done. May Allah make it easy. Ameen.
I hope I'll be able to make more posts on Ramadan in sha Allah. May Allah increase us in understanding and forgive our errors. Ameen.
Do drop your questions or observation.