Sick and bedridden, and unable to fast

Reference: Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 1, Page 252, Fatwa No.200
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-`Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa. – Fatwa No.6620

Question: An elderly woman of 85 years of age, is sick and bedridden and cannot stand – not even to use the bathroom. The question: Is salaah and fasting obligatory upon her? Please advise us and may Allaah reward you with good.

Response: If her situation is as mentioned, then salaah is obligatory upon her so long as she is sane and capable of performing the actions of salaah to the best of her ability, even if by gesturing. This is based upon His (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) statement:

{So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can}, soorah at-Taghaabun, aayah 16


{Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope}, soorah al-Baqarah, aayah 286

It has also been confirmed that the Prophet ﷺ said:

«If I command you with something, then do of it what you are able…»

…and His ﷺ saying to ‘Imraan ibn Hussayn (radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhu):

«Pray standing, and if you are unable, then pray sitting, and if you are unable, then pray lying upon your side», transmitted by al-Bukhaaree

…and added the following with an authentic chain of narration:

«…and if you are unable, then [pray] lying down»

If, however, she was to regain her [good] health to fast, then she is required to fast. If fasting is a hardship for her, then she is required to feed a poor and needy person for every day she is unable to fast, and in doing so, she is not required to make up any of the missed fasts. It is sufficient for her to feed a poor and needy person half a saa’ of wheat or rice or from that which the people are accustomed to eating for each and every day. But if she is not sane, then neither salaah nor fasting is obligatory upon her.

And with Allaah lies all the success, and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his family and his companions.

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004. He currently resides in Birmingham, UK.