The ruling on 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 and make fidya (compensation)? I would like to know the amount of fidya since I am incapable of fasting.
Fasting is one of the obligations prescribed by Islam and one which Allah has made conditional upon [a person's] ability. Therefore, if a person is unable to fast, he has the dispensation to refrain from this duty. Rather, if fasting is detrimental to his health, a matter which is determined by a medical specialist, then it is obligatory upon him to refrain from fasting to preserve his health. However, if his illness is acute, then he is obliged to make up his missed fast days once he restores his health.
Otherwise, if heis chronically illness such as with certain conditions associated with old age and the like, he is not obliged to make up his unperformed fast days but must make a fidya which consists of feeding a poor person for each day he has missed, depending on hisfinancial ability. It is likewise permissible to pay the cash value of the meal. If he is poor or if his income barely covers his expenses or the expenses of his dependants, then he is not to pay anything.
Allah the Almighty knows best.