What is Kaffarah?
Kaffarah is the penalty that is imposed upon a person who broke their fast during the month of Ramadan deliberately and without valid reason. If a person made the intention to fast the following day but broke their fast with no sound reason, then Kaffarah takes effect. Learn more about what breaks the fast here [hyperlink to Ramadan page] How is the Kaffarah done? First, the intention should be made, as kaffarah is classified under the category of obligations, otherwise your kaffarah will not be valid.
Second, the Muslim should fast sixty days – one after the other, without missing any day in between. If the kaffarah was interrupted after 59 days of fasting, for any reason, you will have to start all over again as any interruption invalidate the kaffarah. The only valid interruption is the monthly menstrual cycle for women.
However, if you were unable to fast sixty days due to illness or age then you will have to feed 60 people who are categorised as poor and needy at a rate of [add price] per day or per person. Each person should be given two meals or the equivalent in cash or grain. The kaffarah should either be paid in one day but has to be separately distributed amongst sixty needy people or paid daily in a course of sixty days. The kaffarah is still valid if a disruption happened at some point in the course of feeding.
There are various views and more details regarding the kaffarah. Therefore, you will need to seek guidance from your local imam who will provide you with advice based on your circumstances.
What is Fidyah? As opposed to Kaffarah, Fidyah is the penalty that is imposed upon a person who is:
Unable to fast during the month of Ramadan due to valid reasons.
Unable to make up the fast throughout the year or will never be able to make up the fasts.
Who has to pay Fidyah?
People with physical or mental illness.
Elderly people who cannot fast.
People on regular medication.
The penalty is a donation of [price] per missed day.
Why is charity so important in Islam? Giving charity may sound easy but when it comes to the actual giving, the nafs (self) is sometimes greedy. In Islam we are asked to be selfless and caring about others especially those in need. The existence of poverty and starvation across the globe makes us think twice about our actions. The prophet (PBUH) has always emphasised that a Muslim should be loving and caring towards their fellow human beings. Allah (SWT) has always encouraged us, in the Quran, to help those in need. If each Muslim pay zakat and give charity, if we follow the teachings of Islam, we will put an end to poverty and hunger.
Charity strengthens ties, promotes the sense of community and brings joy to both sides, the wealthy and the needy.
Is there diffrent types of charity in Islam? Yes, there are two main types: obligatory charity and voluntary charity.
Charities like Zakat, Qurbani and Zakatul Firt fall under the obligatory category. This form of charity has certain dates, timings and guidelines that Muslims should follow and abide to. Nor performing one or any of the obligatory charities is considered as a sin and need to be made up. Click on the highlighted texts for more details on these obligatory charities.
Charities like Sadaqa Jariyyah, smiling, removing harm from streets and more are considered as voluntary charities. This form of charity is not an obligation, meaning that you can do it if you can and by not performing it you will not commit a sin. Sometimes it does not require money; helping a human being, feeding an animal and just smiling can be considered as a voluntary charity.
“Your smile for your brother is a charity. Your removal harm from the path of people is a charity. Your guidance of a person who is lost is a charity.” [Bukhari]
“…to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it, is a charity; a good word is a charity; and removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim]
These are hadiths that explain different forms of voluntary charity. This leads us to Sadaqa Jariyyah that involves money.
Sadaqa Jariyyah (ongoing charity) is a noble act that many Muslims do their best to at least make one ongoing charity before they die. It is a deed that continues to benefit people, and the person who performed this charity will continue receiving the reward for as long as it benefits others. “When a person dies his works end, except for three: ongoing charity, knowledge that is benefited from, and a righteous child who prays for him.” [Muslim]
From the name, ongoing charity means ongoing reward. Example of this form of charity is building a mosque, sponsoring an orphan, building a school, digging a well and the list goes on.
What are the rewards of giving charity?Two types of rewards: In dunya (life) and in Akhira (afterlife)
Protection from calamities and increase in wealth are two of the main rewards in life.
“Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” [Al-Tirmidhi] “Charity does not decrease wealth…” [Muslim]
A shade on the day of judgement and increase in reward are the two main rewards in the afterlife.
The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills…” [02:261]
These are the rewards of protection and blessings for those who sacrifice their wealth for His sake to help the poor and needy.