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.