Paying Fidyah for Mother Who Is Not Fasting

Question and answer details
Respected scholars, As-salamu `alaykum. My mother has contracted an illness recently and her doctors have asked her not to fast during Ramadan. She has no source of income and is dependant on myself and my brothers. I feel myself responsible to compensate for her missing fast. I would like to know if I can pay this debt in her name in terms of money to the poor and how would I calculate the exact amount. I would also like to know the du`aa's the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) used to ask for the sick people. Jazakum Allahu khayran.
Ahmad Kutty

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

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Dear brother in Islam, we do really commend you for showing dutifulness to your mother. We also commend your apparent interest in having a better understanding of the teachings of Islam and the rulings of this great religion in all matters. In fact, Islam is a religion that encompasses all aspects of life and secures guidance and light for all mankind.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam that are of paramount significance. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Islam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing Prayer, paying the zakah, making the pilgrimage to the Sacred House (Hajj), and fasting the month of Ramadan" (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

A person who is terminally ill is exempted from fasting, but he or she must offer fidyah (compensation) for that. Compensation for skipping a fast is feeding one poor person. Allah says: [For those who can do it (With extreme hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent] (Al-Baqarah 2:184). If he or she cannot pay fidyah, it is acceptable for a son or a daughter to pay it on her behalf.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto,Ontario, Canada, states the following:

It is absolutely fine and acceptable for you to pay the fidyah (compensation in lieu of fasting) that is due upon your mother. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Children are the fruits of their parents' work" and therefore parents can benefit freely from their children's work. Furthermore, we have been ordered in the Qur'an to excel in our kind treatment towards our parents. Therefore, your willingness to pay this fidyah on behalf of your mother, who is not financially able, is indeed an expression of such excellence. You can rest assured just as your mother will be absolved by your generosity, you will also be blessed by it tremendously. So never feel any hesitation in your action.

Now coming to the exact amount of fidyah, it all depends on where you live. The amount payable is the cost of a proper meal. Since the standard of living varies from country to country, the amount also may vary accordingly. In Canada it has been estimated to be a minimum of seven dollars per day of fast. But if you are in the States or anywhere in Europe you should go by the standard as determined by the Muslim scholars there. So act appropriately.

Finally, coming to du`aa's for praying for the sick, let me list a few:

Allaahumma Rabba an-nas, adhhib al-ba'sa ishfi anta ash-shafi la shifaa'a illa shifaa'uka shifaa'an la yughadiru saqaman.

(O Allah, the Lord of mankind, I beseech you to send down cure [or healing] on him [or her], for You alone have the power to cure [or heal]; there is no cure [or healing] except Yours.)

Bismillah tahoorun in sha' Allah.

(In the name of Allah, may it be a source of cleansing [or purification] for you with the permission of Allah.)

As'alu Allaha al-`Azeem Rabba al-`arshi al-`azheem an yasfiyaki
(I ask of Allah, the Tremendous, the Lord of the mighty throne to cure [or heal] you.)

You can also read Surat Al-Fatihah and blow on her, with the intention of seeking cure from Allah through it, for among the various names of Al-Fatihah is Ash-Shifaa' (The Healing), for it is an excellent source of healing.

May Allah inspire us to turn to Him alone for succor and relief, and may He bless us all to do what is most pleasing to Him. Ameen.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islam.ca.