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As Muslims, we strive to observe the fasts of Ramadan with sincerity and dedication. However, there may be times when we unintentionally or deliberately break our fast.

Kaffarah provides a means of seeking forgiveness and making amends for these actions.

This article will explain what Kaffarah is and how it can be performed.

What is Kaffarah?

Kaffarah is an Arabic term meaning “atonement” or “expiation”. It refers to a specific act of religious compensation required when a Muslim intentionally breaks a fast during the holy month of Ramadan without a valid reason (such as illness, travel, or menstruation).

Reasons for Performing Kaffarah

  1. Intentionally eating food or drinking water during fasting hours
  2. Masturbation or sexual intercourse during fasting hours
  3. Intentionally making yourself throw up
  4. Planning or intending to deliberately miss fasts

What is the difference between Kaffarah and Fidya?

Kaffarah, as we mentioned, is an act of atonement required for deliberately breaking a Ramadan fast without a valid reason. Fidya, however, applies to those who cannot fast due to legitimate reasons like illness, old age, travel, pregnancy, or breastfeeding.

The key difference lies in the intentionality of breaking the fast. Kaffarah addresses deliberate choices, while Fidya provides a solution for circumstances beyond one’s control.

Methods of compensation also differ. Kaffarah involves more significant acts of penance like fasting for 60 consecutive days or providing substantial food donations. Fidya typically involves a simpler donation of food sufficient for one person per missed day.

How to do Kaffarah

Kaffarah has a prioritized order of actions:

1. Freeing a Slave: Historically, freeing a slave was a method of Kaffarah.

2. Fasting: The primary method of atonement is to fast for 60 consecutive days. If you’re physically incapable of this, the next option becomes applicable.

3. Feeding the Poor: Feed 60 needy people two meals a day or provide enough food for the equivalent (e.g., donating the monetary value).

Kaffarah must be performed for each intentionally broken fast.

For those who wish to feed the poor for their kaffara, feeding 60 people for one day would be done at a rate of around $10 USD per person.

In this case, the calculation for one’s kaffara would look like this:

$600 x Days Missed = Total Kaffarah Payment

Pay your Kaffarah for the poor and needy with Bonyan



Is it permissible to pay the Kaffarah in cash?

The preferred method of paying Kaffarah is by providing food directly to those in need. This is the traditional and most emphasized way to fulfill the religious obligation.

But Some contemporary Islamic scholars allow paying the monetary equivalent of the food to a trustworthy charity. These charities would then be responsible for purchasing and distributing the food.

Is it permissible to fast Kaffarah intermittently?

No, Kaffarah fasting must be done consecutively without interruption.

Is it permissible to give the Kaffarah of fasting to relatives?

Yes, it is permissible to give the Kaffarah of fasting to relatives, as long as they are poor or needy and are eligible to receive zakat. This is because relatives are more deserving of charity and kindness than others.

However, if a non-relative is more in need than a relative, then the non-relative should be given priority.