When a Muslim misses fasts during the month of Ramadan due to illness, how long does he/she have to make up those fasts? The common thing that I have heard is that the number of fasts must be completed within the year before the next Ramadan begins.
What is this opinion based upon?
When a person misses any fasts during the month of Ramadan due to illness or journey, the Shari`ah directs him to complete the number of fasts during other days. The Shari`ah has not restricted us regarding the number of days, months or years during which the number of missed fasts is to be completed. Thus, there is no religious obligation to complete the missed fasts during a particular time period.
However, we must remember that till the time that we complete the number of missed fasts, it would remain our religious obligation to do so. Like all other liabilities, we should try to free ourselves from this liability as soon as we get the opportunity of doing so. For, who knows, we may not get another opportunity to retire our obligations.
Thus, although the Shari`ah has not given any specific directions regarding the number of years, months or days in which the missed fasts should be completed, prudence requires that we do so whenever, and as soon as, it is easily possible for us.
28th June 1999