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Kaffara of fast

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Kaffāra of fast (Arabic: كفارة الصوم) is a fine for invalidating the fasting of the month of Ramadan, a fast vowed to be performed at a specified time, as well as the qada of fasting of the month of Ramadan after the zuhr adhan. Kaffara for intentional breaking of one day fasting is to fast for two months, 31 days of which must be consecutive, or to feed sixty poor people.

Kaffara of fast becomes obligatory if the person knows that what he is doing is among the invalidators of fasting. Also, according to the fatwas of some jurists, intentionally performing any of the invalidators of fasts entails kaffara. On the other hand, some jurists believe that intentionally invalidating the fast does not necessarily lead to the obligation of kaffara.

According to Shia jurists, if a person breaks his fast by committing a forbidden act such as drinking wine or committing adultery, he must offer a collective kaffara (two months of fasting as well as feeding sixty poor people). However, some jurists have considered offering collective kaffara in this case as a recommended precaution and others as an obligatory precaution.

Meaning

Kaffara is a financial or physical penalty imposed on a person who commits certain sins. It often leads to the cancellation or mitigation of the afterlife punishment for the sin.

Jurists believe that kaffara of fast becomes obligatory due to intentional invalidation of some fasts:

  • Fasting of the month of Ramadan
  • Qada of fasting of the month of Ramadan if it is invalidated after zuhr adhan.

Different types of the kaffara of fast

Most Shiite jurists have considered the kaffara of fast as one of the following three:

  • Fasting for two consecutive months, 31 days of which must be consecutive
  • Feeding sixty poor people
  • Freeing a slave. (Of course, releasing slaves is not relevant today and has therefore been removed.)

The Effect of having knowledge and ignorance on kaffara of fast

According to the jurists, if a person breaks his fast intentionally and without a religious excuse, in addition to qada, kaffara becomes obligatory for him. In addition, for the kaffara to be obligatory, it is required that the person knows that what he is doing is among the invalidators of fasting. Therefore, the ruling of kaffara does not include a inculpable ignorant or an culpable ignorant. However, some believe that a inculpable ignorant is ruled as a person who has knowledge about the invalidators and thus he must offer the kaffara in addition to performing the qada.

What invalidators of fast entail kaffara?

Muhammad Hasan al-Najafi the author of Jawahir al-kalam believes that according to the narrations, intentionally performing any of the invalidations of fasting, in addition to qada of the fast, also entails kaffara. Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei also believes that intentionally committing whatever invalidates fasting, such as ascribing a lie to God or to the Prophet (s) or vomiting, also entails kaffara.

On the other hand, some jurists believe that intentionally invalidating the fast does not necessarily entail kaffara. According to Imam Khomeini’s fatwa, if a person becomes junub at night and wakes up three times at night and sleeps again [without performing ghusl] and does not wake up until the fajr adhan, he should only perform the qada of the fast of that day and has no obligation of offering kaffara. The same ruling applies to the person who intentionally vomits while fasting.

The difference between kaffara in invalidating fast by a forbidden or a permissible action

Main article: Collective kaffara

A number of jurists believe that if a person breaks his fast by lawful invalidators, such as food or water, or the immersion of his head in water, etc., he should perform one of the forms of kaffara in addition to qada of the fast. However, if he invalidates his fast by an act that is forbidden by itself, such as adultery or drinking wine, he must perform all three types of kaffara, which is called a collective kaffara. Of course, some marja’s have considered performing a collective kaffara as a recommended precaution and some as an obligatory precaution.

The difference between kaffara of fast and fidya

Sometimes in everyday conversations, people use the word kaffara to mean fidya. For example, one mudd of food (750 grams of wheat and the like) is mentioned as kaffara of fast, while fidya is a substitute for fasting and it is offered when a person does not fast because of disability due to illness or the like and delays the qada of the fast until the next month of Ramadan (kaffara of delay).

References