Fidya und Kaffāra are two forms of donations to offset an obligation. While Fidya is a substitute service, Kaffāra is a penalty payment for unfulfilled obligations. Both imply daily rations of food provisions, which have to be donated to needy people. The exact amount of these rations is specified depending on the circumstances.
Fidya is a payment for those who are permanently not able to fast:
Reasons for that may be:
- An advanced age, where the believer no longer has the physical capability to endure the fasting.
- A chronic disease, which prohibits the fasting from a health viewpoint or requires the intake of medicine, which makes fasting impossible*
*If the medicine comes in the form of injections and the injections contain no nutritional value, then it is not considered as a sufficient impediment.
A daily ration has to be donated for every day not fasted.
Kaffāra is a payment for those who have prematurely broken their obligatory fasting during Ramaḍān or those who have broken an oath or vow with Allāh. Those who have broken their obligatory fasting, pays a Kaffāra for one day* (or 60 days) and has to catch that day of fasting up at a later time. Those who have broken a vow with Allāh has to pay a Kaffāra of 10 daily rations.
*The Hanafi religious school specifies 60 days of penalty payment. This is taken from a tradition in which Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed a man who had broken his fasting by sexual intercourse, to fast 2 months in a row or to feed 60 needy people. Other religious schools do not apply this penalty to all forms of the premature breaking, but only to the specific form of breaking by sexual intercourse, mentioned in this tradition. Contemporary Hanafi scholars also agree to this opinion.