Refraining from fasting for one who is ill
I am 79 years old. I suffer from heart problems and have been undergoing treatment for my condition for over five years. I take heart medication based on my cardiologist's orders; I take daily tablets in the mornings, afternoons and at night. Should I fast or refrain from fasting this holy month or make fidya (compensation) since I am incapable of fasting? If fidya is permissible, what is its amount?
Fasting is one of the obligations prescribed by Islam and one which God Almighty has made conditional upon one’s ability. Therefore, if fasting is detrimental to one’s health, a matter which is determined by a medical specialist, then it is obligatory to refrain from fasting to preserve one’s health. However, if one’s illness is acute, it is necessary to make up any missed fast days once one’s health is restored. However, if a chronic illness is involved, such as those associated with old age and the like, one is not obliged to make up the unperformed fast days but must make a fidya which consists of feeding a poor person for each day one has missed, depending on one’s financial ability. It is permissible to pay the cash value of the meal but if one is poor or if one’s income barely covers one’s expenses or the expenses of one’s dependents, then one is not to pay anything.
And God Almighty knows best.