Is it better for a sick person not to fast, or to put up with the difficulties and fast?
Praise be to Allaah, If fasting will be too difficult for the one who is sick, it is better for him not to fast, and to make up the days that he did not fast later on. It is not recommended (mustahabb) for him to fast if it is too difficult: The evidence for that is as follows: "lbn 'Umar (RA) said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Allaah loves His concessions to be accepted just as He hates for acts of disobedience to be committed." (Ahmad/Saheeh) Also, 'Aa'ishah (RA) said: 'The Messenger of Allaah (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallam) was never given the choice between two things but he would choose the easier of them, unless it was a sin. If it was a sin he would be the furthest away from it.' (Bukhaari)
An-Nawawi (RAH) said: This shows that it is recommended to choose the easier and gentler option, so long as it is not forbidden (haraam) or disliked (makrooh). Rather it is disliked for one who is sick to fast if fasting is too difficult for him. His fasting may be haraam if there is the fear that he may be harmed because of fasting. Ibn Qudaamah (RAH) said in al-Mughni: If a sick person is able to put up with fasting and does so, then he has done something which is disliked, because of the harm that results from that and because he has neglected the concession granted by Allaah.'
AI-Qurtubi (RAH) said, 'In the case of one who is sick, two scenarios may apply: He is not able to fast at all, so he has to break his fast and it is obligatory for him not to fast or he is able to fast but that will cause him harm and be difficult for him.
In this case it is recommended (mustahabb) for him to break his fast and not to fast; only an ignorant person would fast in this case'. Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (RAH) said: "From this we realize the mistake made by the mujaahideen [those engaged in jihad] and sick people for whom fasting is difficult and may even cause them harm, but they refuse to break the fast. We said that they are making a mistake when they do not accept the kindness of Allaah and the concession He has granted, and they are harming themselves. And Allaah says: "And do not kill yourselves ... "(Q4[an-Nisa']:29)
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited