Nullifiers that Entails Redemption and Expiation (Al-Qada & Kaffaarah)
When a faster intentionally has marital relations with his wife
during the daytime, the fast is invalidated. This is the most se-
rious of fast breakers. That is why, besides redeeming the day,
there is kaffaarah mughallazah, severe expiation to be ob-
served after Ramadan.
There is a precedent to this case during the time of the Prophet
(saas) as related by Abu Hurairah (raa) who said a man came to
the Messenger of Allah, and said:
“I am ruined, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet
(saas) asked Him, “What ruins you?” He replied: “I had
marital relations with my wife in Ramadan.” The Mes-
senger of Allah (saas) asked him, “Do you have a
bondsan to free as an expiation? ” He said No. The
Messenger of Allah (saas) asked him again, “Are you
able to fast two consecutive months?” No, he said. The
Messenger of Allah (saas) asked again, “Do you have
enough to feed sixty poor people?” No, he said. As the
Messenger of Allah (saas) sat, someone brought a sack
full of dates. The Messenger of Allah (saas) gave the
dates to the man and told him to expiate with it (by giv-
ing it to the poor). The man said, “Is there anyone
poorer than I am, within the innermost part of this city?
Indeed, there is no household in more desperate need
than us.” The Messenger of Allah (saas) laughed until
his teeth and gums could be seen. He said to him, “Then
go and feed your family.” (Jama’ah, including Bukhari and
This hadith indicates many important points. First, what consti-
tutes expiation is one of the three following things:
1. Freeing a person in bondage, man or woman. If a man did
not have a bondman, he could purchase one and set him free.
By the way, this was one way Islam combatted the institution
2. Fasting two consecutive months.
3. Feeding sixty poor people an average meal. Indeed, the se-
verity of the penalty is indicative of how serious the offense is.
According to Jamhur, the majority of the scholars, both the
man and his wife are responsible for making up the expiation,
provided both intentionally committed the offense during the
daytime, while both had intended to fast that day. But, if he
forced his wife during Ramadan to have relations with him,
both will redeem the day, but he will be the one to expiate. If
she is not observing fast for some reason, there will be nothing
due on her.
Others said, regardless of whether he forced her or not, only
the man should expiate because in the hadith, the Messenger
(saas) commanded the man, not the woman, to expiate. How-
ever, the previous explanation is stronger.
Another point discussed is which is the best among the three
choices of expiation: freeing, fasting, or feeding? Whichever is
easier to the expiator is the one he should do. There is another
hadith by Abu Hurairah (raa) in which the Messenger of Allah
(saas) told a man who broke his fast to free a person, or fast
two consecutive months, or feed sixty indigent. This report, by
the way of Muslim, demonstrated that one has a choice.
What happens to a person who has sex during fasting, but be-
fore he expiates he repeats the offense? How many expiations
should he make? There will be only one expiation. It is like in
prayer when a worshipper makes two mistakes in one prayer,
he makes only one correction. But if he has expiated for the
first offense and then repeated the offense, the scholars agreed
that expiation is due for the second offense. The Jamhur of
scholars infers from hadith that the expiation is dropped be-
cause of poverty. Allah is the best knower.