It is not uncommon for people to skip or miss a fast, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Islam offers great flexibility when it comes to fasting, as long as the individual has a valid reason to miss the fast. Yes, it is a compulsory act for every able man and woman of the Islamic faith. However, there are certain requirements that must be met first before a person is deemed eligible to fast.
For instance, if someone falls ill, gets pregnant, begins menstruating, or starts travelling during Ramadan, they’re allowed to skip the fast and make up for it at a later date. Similarly, individuals with conditions that mean they’ll never be able to fast, such as chronic illnesses or old age, will pay Fidya in place of the fast.
Furthermore, during a state of fast, should a person consume an edible item unintentionally, their fast would still be valid. As long as the intention to fast is pure, the fast holds strong, and the person is rewarded for the deed. However, skipping a fast intentionally without good reason will mean you’re required to either fast for 60 continuous days or pay Kaffarah.
Making up missed days of Ramadan is an obligation. If someone is old enough to fast but doesn’t, or if they miss one or more fasts during Ramadan, he or she has to make up for those missed days later on after Ramadan has concluded. With the exception of the two days of Eid during the Islamic calendar, any day is perfect for making the intention to fast from sunrise to sunset. Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha occasions are the only two days on which fasting is prohibited.
“Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that Muslims aren’t allowed to fast on the Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.” [Sahih Bukhari]
The instructions about making up missed fast days are pretty simple. All one has to do is observe one fast against the one fast that they missed. So, if you have missed three fasts, you have to fast for three more days. These days are to be designated by you at your convenience, just as long as they are not days of Eid. If you have any missed fasts for previous days, you can also make those up. Islam offers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to making up for missed fasts; all that is required is the will and the intention of the individual to actually go through with it.
If you need to make up for missed fasting, you should spend Eid-ul-Fitr celebrating the successful completion of the month of Ramadan and then start fasting in the days after that. The month that comes after Ramadan is Shawwal, which is the 10th Islamic month according to the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a great month to make up for missed fasts and ideal in the sense that since it follows after Ramadan when the body is still in the fasting mindset and can easily cope with a few additional days of fasting. Also, since the individual is free to select the day they want to fast in advance, Muslims can easily opt for weekends or their day off so that they can go through their fast and not push their body to the limits.
Even though Islam has set pre-defined guidelines with regard to a few very specific activities, it has also allowed a fair bit of leeway when it comes to fulfilling these obligations. Skipped prayer can be made up. The same is the case with Zakat and fasting is no different. Allah (SWT) is Merciful, and as long as Muslims keep the intention of fulfilling their obligations strong in their hearts, they will be rewarded for their deeds. If you have missed any fasts this year, make them up in Shawwal. It’s the best time to do it!