The Ruling on a Dementia Person Fasting

                    12th April 2023


Question: If someone with dementia keeps forgetting they’re fasting and occasionally takes a sip of water etc during the day (then someone reminds them they are fasting or they remember themselves), is there any rulings regarding their fast? Would this person in any way be exempted from fasting altogether due to their mental condition? Also, what if they have other health conditions that is physically weakening them so what would be the ruling in this regard?


الجواب حامداً و مصلياً

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful



Your case in question has multiple aspects to it so first understand what dementia is. It is a neurological condition where the nerve cells in the brain are impaired that affects the person’s ability to make rational decisions for themselves. Although there are many causes of dementia, the most common cause according to experts is Alzheimer disease which results in excessive memory loss, forgetfulness, confusion and even personality disorder. Because of this, patients require in most cases full-time professional dependable carers who they overly rely on for basic decisions and behavioural support.[1] They as a result display unusual behaviours that normal people would not generally do.

The effects of constant memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion amongst dementia people vary significantly between them on the spectrum line. Some amongst them despite forgetfulness may be able to communicate as normal people, for instance those suffering from early-stage dementia whilst others with extreme dementia may no be able to communicate nor comprehend their surroundings or even to an extent, not able to distinguish between right from wrong properly. The obligation of fasting therefore, depends on their mental condition on the spectrum line as well as the condition of their health.

As a standard rule, amongst the conditions for the obligation of worship including fasting is sanity i.e. the person’s mental condition must be intact and normal throughout the month.[2] An insane person therefore is someone whose mental state is totally impaired who cannot distinguish between right from wrong nor able to fully comprehend their actions or what they are saying.[3] This state is known as junun and for them the Shariah obligations are uplifted when the state is permanent.[4] So, if a person’s dementia reaches to the state of junun who is not able to comprehend their statements or actions nor distinguish between right from wrong then the obligation of fasting will be uplifted from them altogether. They will not be required to pay fidya either because of the same reason of the responsibility of worship being uplifted from them.

If contrarily, their dementia is not to the extreme of junun and are able to communicate and comprehend but constantly forgetful then they resemble someone with excessive ishtibah and sahw. Provided they are not suffering from terminal illnesses, the obligations of worship such as Salāh and fasting still apply to them. They can however, seek support from their carers in discharging their responsibilities.  If they eat or drink out of forgetfulness then their fast will not break as forgetfulness is excused. If the carer reminded them of their fast (after eating forgetfully) but ignored them and continued eating then their fast will break and only Qadha will be necessary, no kaffarah.[5] Contrarily, if the non-junun patient alongside their dementia is extremely frail or suffers from chronical illnesses whereby fasting proves extremely difficult for them during any time of the year and as a result, have lost all hopes of fasting anytime in the future then they are exempted from fasting altogether and must pay fidyah for each day of the fast, equivalent the amount of Sadaqatul – fitr. The fidya can be either paid every day in Ramadhān or paid all at once (to the poor and destitute) in the beginning of Ramadhān or at the end.[6]

The above was to highlight the general ruling on the given case. As each individual case varies from the other, we recommend consulting the medical profession as well as their carers of their condition and then to determine the obligation of fasting in light of the aforementioned rulings.


[Allãh Knows Best]



Written and researched by (Mufti) Abdul Waheed

Answer Attested by Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam

JKN Fatawa Department



[1] What is dementia? | Symptoms, causes and diagnosis | Factsheet ( Available at:] (accessed 2nd April 2023)

A quick guide to dementia – Alzheimer’s Research UK ( Available at: (accessed 2nd April 2023)

Family Caregiver Alliance (Family Caregiver Alliance) available at:  (accessed 2nd April 2023)


[2] Ibn Nujaym, Bahr Rāiq, Kitāb Sawm, vol 2, p. 277

وَفِي الْبَدَائِعِ وَأَمَّا الْعَقْلُ فَهَلْ هُوَ مِنْ شَرَائِطِ الْوُجُوبِ وَكَذَا الْإِفَاقَةُ وَالْيَقَظَةُ قَالَ عَامَّةُ مَشَايِخِنَا: لَيْسَتْ مِنْ شَرَائِطِ الْوُجُوبِ بَلْ مِنْ شَرَائِطِ وُجُوبِ الْأَدَاءِ مُسْتَدِلِّينَ بِوُجُوبِ الْقَضَاءِ عَلَى الْمُغْمَى عَلَيْهِ وَالنَّائِمِ بَعْدَ الْإِفَاقَةِ وَالِانْتِبَاهِ بَعْدَ مُضِيِّ بَعْضِ الشَّهْرِ أَوْ كُلِّهِ وَكَذَا الْمَجْنُونُ إذَا أَفَاقَ فِي بَعْضِ الشَّهْرِ

Fatawa Hindiyyah, Kitāb Sawm, vol 1, p. 208

الْمَجْنُونُ إذَا أَفَاقَ فِي بَعْضِ الشَّهْرِ يَلْزَمُهُ قَضَاءُ مَا مَضَى، وَإِنْ اسْتَوْعَبَ جُنُونُهُ كُلَّ الشَّهْرِ لَمْ يَقْضِهِ، وَفِي ظَاهِرِ الرِّوَايَةِ لَمْ يَفْصِلْ بَيْنَ الْجُنُونِ الطَّارِئِ عَلَى الْبُلُوغِ وَالْمُقَارِنِ لَهُ كَذَا فِي مُحِيطِ السَّرَخْسِيِّ.

[3] Mawsoo’atul Fiqhiyyah Kuwaitiyyah vol 16, p. 99

الْجُنُونُ فِي اللُّغَةِ: مَصْدَرُ جُنَّ الرَّجُل بِالْبِنَاءِ لِلْمَجْهُول، فَهُوَ مَجْنُونٌ: أَيْ زَال عَقْلُهُ أَوْ فَسَدَ، أَوْ دَخَلَتْهُ الْجِنُّ، وَجَنَّ الشَّيْءَ عَلَيْهِ: سَتَرَهُ. وَأَمَّا فِي الاِصْطِلاَحِ فَقَدْ عَرَّفَهُ الْفُقَهَاءُ وَالأُْصُولِيُّونَ بِعِبَارَاتٍ مُخْتَلِفَةٍ مِنْهَا:

أَنَّهُ اخْتِلاَل الْعَقْل بِحَيْثُ يَمْنَعُ جَرَيَانَ الأَْفْعَال وَالأَْقْوَال عَلَى نَهْجِهِ إِلاَّ نَادِرًا.

وَقِيل: الْجُنُونُ اخْتِلاَل الْقُوَّةِ الْمُمَيِّزَةِ بَيْنَ الأْشْيَاءِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَالْقَبِيحَةِ الْمُدْرِكَةِ لِلْعَوَاقِبِ بِأَنْ لاَ تَظْهَرَ آثَارُهَا، وَأَنْ تَتَعَطَّل أَفْعَالُهَا.

وَعَرَّفَهُ صَاحِبُ الْبَحْرِ الرَّائِقِ بِأَنَّهُ: اخْتِلاَل الْقُوَّةِ الَّتِي بِهَا إِدْرَاكُ الْكُلِّيَّاتِ.


Durrul Mukhtār wa hashiyah Ibn Ābideen Shāmi, Kitāb Talāq vol 3, p. 241


إلَّا إذَا عَلَّقَ عَاقِلًا ثُمَّ جُنَّ فَوُجِدَ الشَّرْطُ

(قَوْلُهُ وَالْمَجْنُونُ) قَالَ فِي التَّلْوِيحِ: الْجُنُونُ اخْتِلَالُ الْقُوَّةِ الْمُمَيِّزَةِ بَيْنَ الْأُمُورِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَالْقَبِيحَةِ الْمُدْرِكَةِ لِلْعَوَاقِبِ، بِأَنْ لَا تَظْهَرَ آثَارُهُ وَتَتَعَطَّلُ أَفْعَالُهَا، إمَّا لِنُقْصَانِ جَبَلٍ عَلَيْهِ دِمَاغُهُ فِي أَصْلِ الْخِلْقَةِ، وَإِمَّا لِخُرُوجِ مِزَاجِ الدِّمَاغِ عَنْ الِاعْتِدَالِ بِسَبَبِ خَلْطٍ أَوْ آفَةٍ،

وَإِمَّا لِاسْتِيلَاءِ الشَّيْطَانِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِلْقَاءِ الْخَيَالَاتِ الْفَاسِدَةِ إلَيْهِ بِحَيْثُ يَفْرَحُ وَيَفْزَعُ مِنْ غَيْرِ مَا يَصْلُحُ سَبَبًا.


[4] Tahtawi, Bāb Salatul Mareedh 436

“والجنون مثله” اعلم أن الأعذار ثلاثة ممتد جدا كالصبا يسقط به جميع العبادات وقاصر جدا كالنوم فلا يسقط به شيء ومتردد بينهما وهو الإغماء فإذا امتد ألحق بالممتد جدا وإلا ألحق بالقاصر جدا ذكر الحدادي ولا يعتبر الإغماء في الصوم والزكاة لأنه يندر وجوده سنة أو شهرا بخلاف الجنون فإنه يمتد فاعتبر في سقوط العبادات والله سبحانه وتعالى أعلم وأستغفر الله العظيم.



[5] Fatawa Hindiyyah, Kitāb Sawm, vol 1, p. 202

(الْبَابُ الرَّابِعُ فِيمَا يُفْسِدُ، وَمَا لَا يُفْسِدُ) . وَالْمُفْسِدُ عَلَى نَوْعَيْنِ (النَّوْعُ الْأَوَّلُ مَا يُوجِبُ الْقَضَاءَ دُونَ الْكَفَّارَةِ) . إذَا أَكَلَ الصَّائِمُ أَوْ شَرِبَ أَوْ جَامَعَ نَاسِيًا لَمْ يُفْطِرْ، وَلَا فَرْقَ بَيْنَ الْفَرْضِ وَالنَّفَلِ كَذَا فِي الْهِدَايَةِ. وَلَوْ قِيلَ لِرَجُلٍ يَأْكُلُ إنَّك صَائِمٌ، وَهُوَ لَا يَتَذَكَّرُ فَالصَّحِيحُ أَنَّهُ يَفْسُدُ صَوْمُهُ هَكَذَا فِي الظَّهِيرِيَّةِ.


Durrul Mukhtār wa hashiyah Ibn Ābideen Shāmi, Kitāb Sawm, vol 2 p. 395

بَابُ مَا يُفْسِدُ الصَّوْمَ وَمَا لَا يُفْسِدُهُ الْفَسَادُ

وَالْبُطْلَانُ فِي الْعِبَادَاتِ سِيَّانِ (إذَا أَكَلَ الصَّائِمُ أَوْ شَرِبَ أَوْ جَامَعَ) حَالَ كَوْنِهِ (نَاسِيًا) فِي الْفَرْضِ وَالنَّفَلِ قَبْلَ النِّيَّةِ أَوْ بَعْدَهَا عَلَى الصَّحِيحِ بَحْرٌ عَنْ الْقُنْيَةِ إلَّا أَنْ يُذَكَّرَ فَلَمْ يَتَذَكَّرْ وَيُذَكِّرُهُ لَوْ قَوِيًّا وَإِلَّا وَلَيْسَ عُذْرًا فِي حُقُوقِ الْعِبَادِ

(وَقَوْلُهُ: إذَا أَكَلَ) شَرْطٌ جَوَابُهُ قَوْلُهُ الْآتِي لَمْ يُفْطِرْ كَمَا سَيُنَبِّهُ عَلَيْهِ الشَّارِحُ (قَوْلُهُ: نَاسِيًا) أَيْ لِصَوْمِهِ؛ لِأَنَّهُ ذَاكِرٌ لِلْأَكْلِ وَالشُّرْبِ وَالْجِمَاعِ مِعْرَاجٌ……… (قَوْلُهُ: إلَّا أَنْ يُذَكَّرْ فَلَمْ يَتَذَكَّرْ) أَيْ إذَا أَكَلَ نَاسِيًا فَذَكَّرَهُ إنْسَانٌ بِالصَّوْمِ وَلَمْ يَتَذَكَّرْ فَأَكَلَ فَسَدَ صَوْمُهُ فِي الصَّحِيحِ خِلَافًا لِبَعْضِهِمْ ظَهِيرِيَّةٌ؛ لِأَنَّ خَبَرَ الْوَاحِدِ فِي الدِّيَانَاتِ مَقْبُولٌ، فَكَانَ يَجِبُ أَنْ يَلْتَفِتَ إلَى تَأَمُّلِ الْحَالِ لِوُجُودِ الْمُذَكَّرِ بَحْرٌ.

قُلْت: لَكِنْ لَا كَفَّارَةَ عَلَيْهِ وَهُوَ الْمُخْتَارُ كَمَا فِي التَّتَارْخَانِيَّة عَنْ النِّصَابِ وَقَدْ نَسَبُوا هَذِهِ الْمَسْأَلَةَ إلَى أَبِي يُوسُفَ وَنَسَبَ إلَيْهِ الْقُهُسْتَانِيُّ فَسَادَ الصَّوْمِ بِالنِّسْيَانِ مُطْلَقًا وَلَمْ أَرَهُ لِغَيْرِهِ وَسَيَأْتِي مَا يَرُدُّهُ


[6] Fatawa Hindiyyah, Kitāb Sawm, vol 1, p. 207

(وَمِنْهَا: كِبَرُ السِّنِّ) فَالشَّيْخُ الْفَانِي الَّذِي لَا يَقْدِرُ عَلَى الصِّيَامِ يُفْطِرُ وَيُطْعِمُ لِكُلِّ يَوْمٍ مِسْكِينًا كَمَا يُطْعِمُ فِي الْكَفَّارَةِ كَذَا فِي الْهِدَايَةِ. وَالْعَجُوزُ مِثْلُهُ كَذَا فِي السِّرَاجِ الْوَهَّاجِ. وَهُوَ الَّذِي كُلُّ يَوْمٍ فِي نَقْصٍ إلَى أَنْ يَمُوتَ كَذَا فِي الْبَحْرِ الرَّائِقِ. ثُمَّ إنْ شَاءَ أَعْطَى الْفِدْيَةَ فِي أَوَّلِ رَمَضَانَ بِمَرَّةٍ، وَإِنْ شَاءَ أَخَّرَهَا إلَى آخِرِهِ كَذَا فِي النَّهْرِ الْفَائِقِ.


Durrul Mukhtār wa hashiyah Ibn Ābideen Shāmi, Kitāb Sawm, vol 2 p. 427

(وَلِلشَّيْخِ الْفَانِي الْعَاجِزِ عَنْ الصَّوْمِ الْفِطْرُ وَيَفْدِي) وُجُوبًا وَلَوْ فِي أَوَّلِ الشَّهْرِ وَبِلَا تَعَدُّدِ فَقِيرٍ كَالْفِطْرَةِ لَوْ مُوسِرًا وَإِلَّا فَيَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ هَذَا إذَا كَانَ الصَّوْمُ أَصْلًا بِنَفْسِهِ وَخُوطِبَ بِأَدَائِهِ

(قَوْلُهُ وَلَوْ فِي أَوَّلِ الشَّهْرِ) أَيْ يُخَيَّرُ بَيْنَ دَفْعِهَا فِي أَوَّلِهِ وَآخِرِهِ كَمَا فِي الْبَحْرِ (قَوْلُهُ وَبِلَا تَعَدُّدِ فَقِيرٍ) أَيْ بِخِلَافِ نَحْوِ كَفَّارَةِ الْيَمِينِ لِلنَّصِّ فِيهَا عَلَى التَّعَدُّدِ، فَلَوْ أَعْطَى هُنَا مِسْكِينًا صَاعًا عَنْ يَوْمَيْنِ جَازَ لَكِنْ فِي الْبَحْرِ عَنْ الْقُنْيَةِ أَنَّ عَنْ أَبِي يُوسُفَ فِيهِ رِوَايَتَيْنِ وَعِنْدَ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ لَا يُجْزِيهِ كَمَا فِي كَفَّارَةِ الْيَمِينِ، وَعَنْ أَبِي يُوسُفَ لَوْ أَعْطَى نِصْفَ صَاعٍ مِنْ بُرٍّ عَنْ يَوْمٍ وَاحِدٍ لِمَسَاكِينَ يَجُوزُ قَالَ الْحَسَنُ وَبِهِ نَأْخُذُ اهـ


Kasān, Badā’i Sanāi, Kitāb Sawm, vol 2 p. 97

فَصْلٌ حُكْمُ فَسَادِ الصَّوْمِ

وَكَذَا كِبَرُ السِّنِّ حَتَّى يُبَاحَ لِلشَّيْخِ الْفَانِي أَنْ يُفْطِرَ فِي شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ لِأَنَّهُ عَاجِزٌ عَنْ الصَّوْمِ وَعَلَيْهِ الْفِدْيَةُ عِنْدَ عَامَّةِ الْعُلَمَاءِ.

وَقَالَ مَالِكٌ: لَا فِدْيَةَ عَلَيْهِ، وَجْهُ قَوْلِهِ أَنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى، أَوْجَبَ الْفِدْيَةَ عَلَى الْمُطِيقِ لِلصَّوْمِ بِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى {وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ} [البقرة: 184] وَهُوَ لَا يُطِيقُ الصَّوْمَ فَلَا تَلْزَمُهُ الْفِدْيَةُ، وَمَا قَالَهُ مَالِكٌ خِلَافُ إجْمَاعِ السَّلَفِ، فَإِنَّ أَصْحَابَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – أَوْجَبُوا الْفِدْيَةَ عَلَى الشَّيْخِ الْفَانِي، فَكَانَ ذَلِكَ إجْمَاعًا مِنْهُمْ عَلَى أَنَّ الْمُرَادَ مِنْ الْآيَةِ الشَّيْخُ الْفَانِي إمَّا عَلَى إضْمَارِ حَرْفِ لَا فِي الْآيَةِ عَلَى مَا بَيَّنَّا،