Question(s):
At the moment my child is exclusively breastfed. Now in Ramadhan due to our long fasts milk supply with most probably go low temporarily, especially during the day. Would I be recommended/allowed to miss fasts if I feel she’s staying hungry?

Answer(s):
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

In principle, a breastfeeding woman is exempted from fasting if there is a genuine overwhelming fear of harm for herself or her child [1]. This overwhelming fear may be based on previous experience or the advice of pious Muslim doctors etc. [2]

Thus, there are three possible scenarios for your situation:
1. Based on previous experience, if you feel that you may be able to fast without causing any harm to yourself or your child, you must attempt to fast. During the day, if you genuinely need to break the fast, you may do so and make up for it later.

2. If there is no previous experience of this situation, we advise that you begin fasting for a day or two and assess the situation. If you feel you are unable to continue fasting, then you will be regarded excused.

3. If you are unsure whether you can fast or not, you may consult pious Muslim doctors and act on their advice.

If any fasts are missed due to such valid reasons, the woman must make Qadha’ (replacement) of these fasts later.

Finally, it must be noted that the same possibilities and related rulings will apply to the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best.
Mufti Mubasshir Talha
29 Sha’bān 1442 / 11 April 2021

Approved by:
Mufti Tahir Wadee | Mufti Yusuf Ilolvi

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[References]

[1]
قلت: أرأيت المرأة الحامل والمرضع التي تخاف على الصبي أو الحامل تخاف على نفسها؟ قال: تفطران وتقضيان يوما مكان كل يوم، ولا كفارة عليهما
[Al-Asl, 2/172, Dār Ibn Hazm]

قال أبو جعفر: (وإذا خافت الحامل والمرضع على ولديهما: أفطرتا، وكان عليهما القضاء، ولا إطعام عليهما مع ذلك). وذلك لأنهما معذورتان في الإفطار، ويرجى لهما القضاء، فأشبهتا المريض والمسافر في وجوب القضاء، وسقوط الإطعام
[Sharh Mukhtasar al-Tahāwi lil Jassās, 2/437, Dār al-Sirāj]

وإذا خافت الحامل، أو المرضع على نفسها أو ولدها أفطرت لقوله ﷺ: إن الله تعالى وضع عن المسافر شطر الصلاة والصوم وعن الحامل والمرضع الصوم؛ ولأنه يلحقها الحرج في نفسها أو ولدها، والحرج عذر في الفطر كالمريض والمسافر، وعليها القضاء ولا كفارة عليها؛ لأنها ليست بجانية في الفطر ولا فدية عليها عندنا
[Al-Mabsūt, 3/99, Dār al-Ma’rifah]

وأما حبل المرأة وإرضاعها: إذا خافتا الضرر بولدهما فمرخص
[Al-Bada’I al-Sana’I, 2/613, DKI]

والحامل والمرضع إذا خافتا على أنفسهما أو ولديهما، أفطرتا، وقضتا، ولا يجوز لهما الفداء
[Al-Hāwi al-Qudsi – Al-Ghaznawi (d.593 AH), 1/310, Dār al-Nawādir]

قال: (والحامل والمرضع إذا خافتا على ولديهما أو أنفسهما أفطرتا وقضتا لا غير) قياسا على المريض، والجامع دفع الحرج والضرر
[Al-Ikhtiyār, 1/419, al-Risālah al-‘Aalamiyyah]

الحامل والمرضع مأمورة بصيانة الولد مقصودة
[al-Ināyah, 2/355, Dār al-Fikr]

قال: (وللحامل والمرضع إن خافتا على الولد أو النفس) أي لهما الفطر… لما روي عن أنس بن مالك أن رسول الله ﷺ قال: إن الله وضع عن المسافر الصوم وشطر الصلاة وعن الحبلى والمرضع الصوم. ولأنهما يلحقهما الحرج بالصوم فيشرع الإفطار في حقهما كالمسافر والمريض
[Tabyīn al-Haqā’iq, 2/197, DKI]

 قال: (إذا خافتا على أنفسهما أو ولديهما أفطرتا) باجماع اهل العلم…(دفعا للحرج) أي لدفع الحرج عنهما في الصوم..(ولا كفارة عليهما لأنه إفطار بعذر) ووجوب الكفارة عند عدم العذر فاشبهت المريض والمسافر
[Al-Bināyah, 3/694, Dār al-Fikr]

قال: (وللحامل والمرضع الإفطار خوفا على ولدهما وأنفسهما) دفعا للحرج…المرضع: هي التي لها لبن ترضع الولد
[Minhatul Sulook Sharh Tuhfatul Mulook, 271, Dār al-Nawādir]

It is noteworthy that the earlier jurists such as Imam Muhammad, Imam al-Tahawi, Imam Al-Jassas and Imam al-Sarakhsi do not detail the type of fear which constitutes a valid excuse not to fast. Nonetheless, some of the other jurists such as ‘Allamah Kāsāni, ‘Allamah Mawsili and ‘Allamah al-Babarti indicate to general harm. Based on this, as outlined in the Fatwa, based on one’s discretion, if one fears that there is genuine harm, then there is scope to avoid keeping the fast during the breastfeeding period and fast later on.

[2]
قال: (وللحامل والمرضع إذا خافتا على الولد أو النفسأي لهما الفطر دفعا للحرج…قيد بالخوف بمعنى غلبة الظن بتجربة أو إخبار طبيب حاذق مسلم كما في الفتاوى الظهيرية على ما قدمناه، لأنها لو لم تخف لا يرخص لها الفطر
[al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 2/499-500, DKI]

وزعم الأطباء ان الظئر إذا شربت دواه كذا برأ الصغير وتماثل وتحتاج الظئر إلى ان تشرب في ذلك نهارا في رمضان، قيل لها ذلك إذا قال ذلك الأطباء الحذاق
[Fatāwa al-Zahīiryyah, Manuscript – Faydullah Effendi (#1049), Waraqah: 56, Side: Alif]