Making up for the missed days of Sawm due to a chronic disease

Question: My father entered the intensive care unit in the hospital at the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadaan 1416 A.H. He suffered from both cardiac failure and nephritis caused by instability in the level of blood sugar. He was in a semi coma in the first four days, and during the rest of the month his state got a bit better. He left the hospital a few days before the day of `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast) as his state was relatively better, but he was still ill and continued to take drugs as prescribed by doctors. He continued taking pills three times a day: morning, afternoon, and evening for diabetes, blood pressure, and strengthening the heart muscle, and extracting the liquids from the body.

Being in such a case, he could observe Sawm (Fast) for only four days in the beginning of the month and could not observe Sawm during the rest of the month. Before Ramadaan 1417 A.H.,my father gave out two sacks of rice, each of which weighs 45 kilograms, as charity to two poor families. In Ramadan of this year (1417 A.H.), he could not observe Sawm at all as doctors forbade him to do so. After `Eed-ul-Fitr, he similarly gave out two sacks of rice and one of the reliable brothers distributed them to some poor and needy families. However, my father wants to be sure that he acted as the Sharee`ah (Islaamic law) dictates, and wants to know from Your Eminence what he should do in detail. May Allaah reward you abundantly.

Answer: If your father cannot make up for the days he missed from Ramadaan because of his chronic disease, he should provide for each day he missed an amount of one kilo and a half of staple food for a needy person or some needy people. This feeding is a substitute for making up. Allaah (Exalted be He) says: And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskeen (poor person) (for every day). Therefore, what you have given out is even more than what you should pay, and thus the surplus amount shall be counted as a Sadaqah (voluntary charity). However, if your father is expected to recover his health and be able to make up for the missed Sawm, he should wait until he recovers to make up for it… read more here.