Some time ago I read this from the Tafsir al-Imaam ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy upon him) to which he said,
(And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g., an old man)) to mean those who find it difficult to fast as Ibn Mas’ud stated. This is also the opinion of Al-Bukhari who said, “As for the old man (person) who cannot fast, (he should do like) Anas who, for one or two years after he became old fed some bread and meat to a poor person for each day he did not fast.”
This point, which Al-Bukhari attributed to Anas without a chain of narrators, was collected with a continuous chain of narrators by Abu Ya`la Mawsuli in his Musnad, that Ayyub bin Abu Tamimah said; “Anas could no longer fast. So he made a plate of Tharid (broth, bread and meat) and invited thirty poor persons and fed them.” The same ruling applies for the pregnant and breast-feeding women if they fear for themselves or their children or fetuses. In this case, they pay the Fidyah and do not have to fast other days in place of the days that they missed. (Tafsir from Al-Baqarah)
In the West some of us believe that our pregnant and breastfeeding women should make up their fast and also feed a poor Muslim person for everyday that she has missed. Our Sheikh al-Imaam ibn Katheer stated that you only do one or the other, not both and gave us some examples above from our illustrious Salaf (may Allah be pleased with them). And Allah knows best about this.
So I then went to our Sheikh Muhammad Sa’eed Rslan today, June 6th, 2011,(may Allah preserve and honor him and his family) and I asked,
“Sheikh if the pregnant or breastfeeding woman does not fast does she have to make up her fast?” To which he replied, “No. If she has fear for her child she then feeds a poor person from the Muslims (a Fidyah) for everyday she has missed; she does not have to make up her fast.”
Allah is The Knower and we thank Him for His mercy and guidance by giving us an easy religion. And we thank Him, The Exalted for giving us ‘Ulama who would attend to His deen after the messenger (salallaahu alayhi wa salaam) and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them).
Please share this and take the reward for lifting the burdens off of those who don’t know. For many I believe that this will only be good news and Allah knows best and our return is to Him, The Sublime.
May Allah forgive and accept us,
-Abu Muhammad al-Looweesi’aani