An old woman who lost her memory, should she fast?

Question: Through this letter, I would like to inform you that my mother has now reached miserable old age, where she is unaware of anything regarding religion or worldly affairs. She can only recognize my voice. She cannot differentiate night from day, nor can she recognize anything else. The matter of the obligation of Sawm (fast) on her bewilders me. Is there any Kaffaarah (expiation) obligatory on her, since she is so disabled that she cannot carry out any of the pillars of Islaam? It should be known that this is not due to negligence, laziness, or Kufr (disbelief) on her part. Rather, this is due to old age.

Please give me your Fatwaa (legal opinion issued by qualified Muslim scholar). Is it obligatory on us to feed the poor on her behalf? May Allaah guide you and grant you success.

Answer: If the reality is as you mentioned, your mother owes nothing, since she is no longer Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions), because she lost her memory as a result of her old age… read more here.

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Should an old woman who can not perform the acts of worship properly feed the poor?

Question: My mother suffers Alzheimer disease which makes her forgetful and can recognize neither the relatives nor times, such as the month of Ramadan. Last Ramadaan, for example, she did not fast. Moreover, she is feeble in the sense that she cannot eat food enough to enable her to fast. Is it obligatory on her to fast? What should she do regarding the past Ramadaan that she did not fast? What should she do regarding Salaah (Prayer), as she cannot recognize their due times and the number of Rak`ahs (units of Prayer), but she performs Salaah according to her estimation? Please give us a Fatwaa, may Allaah reward you!

Answer: If the condition of this woman is as mentioned in the question, it is obligatory on her neither to perform Salah nor fast, since, as mentioned in this case, she is not accountable for her actions. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There are three whose actions are not recorded: an insane person until he is restored to sanity, a sleeper until he awakens, and a boy until he reaches puberty. The person whose mind became disordered has the same ruling as an insane person… read more here.

Should the sons of an old divorced woman, who cannot observe Sawm feed the poor as expiation on her behalf?

Question: Since my mother cannot endure Sawm (Fast) due to her permanent feebleness, she has not been observing Sawm during Ramadaan for the past twenty years. During this period, she would feed a poor person as expiation for each day wherein she broke her Sawm. Three years ago, she was divorced by my father. Now she is under the sponsorship of both me and my brother who does not live with us in the same house. As we have limited income, is it obligatory on her to feed the poor as expiation, or should we do this on her behalf? It should be known that she has no financial resources. What is the amount of food that should be given to a poor person as expiation for each day? Should the amount of Zakaat-ul-Fitr (obligatory charity paid before the Festival of Breaking the Fast) that is due on her be paid by all of us, or does it suffice that one of us pays it on her behalf?

Answer: You should feed, on behalf of your mother who cannot endure Sawm permanently,a poor person an amount of one and a half kilograms of the prevailing food of the country as expiation for each day wherein she broke her Sawm. It suffices that this be done by any of you. The same applies to Zakaat al-Fitr, i.e., it suffices that any of you should pay it on her behalf… read more here.

An old man who can neither observe Sawm nor perform Wudoo’

Question: My father is very old and is unable to stand without my help. He was not able to observe Sawm (Fast) in the current Ramadaan. He usually performs Tayammum (dry ablution with clean earth) to offer Salaah (Prayer), as he is not able to perform Wudoo’ (ablution). He offers Salaah either while sitting glorying on his side. What is the ruling on this?

Answer: First, If your father is unable to observe Sawm due to his old age, he should feed one Miskeen (needy person) an amount of about one half a Saa` (1 Saa` = 3 kg. Approx.) of dates, wheat, or similar staple food of the country for each day on which he breaks Sawm… read more here.

Is there a fixed age for old people to be permitted not to observe Sawm?

Question: What is the age that if reached by old people makes it permissible for them not to observe Sawm (Fast) of the blessed month of Ramadaan and to feed the poor instead? How should they feed the poor, i.e., should they do so at the end of Ramadaan or day by day?

Answer: There is no fixed age at which old people are permitted not to observe Sawm. Rather, it depends on the permanent inability to observe Sawm. To put it in plain words, if one cannot endure Sawm due to being old, it is permissible for him not to fast and to feed a poor person (as expiation) for every day (wherein he breaks Sawm) half a Saa` (1 Saa`=3 kg. Approx.) of the common food of the country. It is also permissible for him to give out all the fifteen Saa`s at the beginning of Ramadaan… read more here.