Q. I'm a 30 year old woman and Alhamdulillah, I've been fasting since I was young. Since puberty I have missed some of my fasts due to menstruation, and invariably I have not made up the missed fasts after that. I recently came across some information that says it is permissible for women to make up for missed fasts a month before Ramadan in expectation of missing their fasts due to menstruation during Ramadan. Is this correct; is it permissible to do so? Also, how do I make up for all of the missed fasts of the past years? I look forward to your reply.

A. In this matter, there are differences of opinion, and I am among those are considered as the mutasaahileen; i.e., those who view things in a rather liberal manner. The Qur'anic verses certainly have prescriptions for the fasts that are missed, yet the verses seem more towards immediacy, that is to say, you make up the fasts at the earliest opportunity. When years have accumulated, then such making up becomes truly onerous. In this case, it is our view that you simply ask God's forgiveness and trust in divine mercy. You may expiate, if you can afford it, by feeding the poor. As far as preemptive fasts BEFORE they are due, this is an opinion that seems based upon viewing God more as a harsh and inconsiderate Judge rather than a beneficent Creator. It is our opinion that you do not attempt to unduly tax yourself by making up what you have missed, but concentrate on that which will occur, trusting in God's mercy. There are pills that delay the woman's period: and some women use it for the hajj so that this ritual is not affected. With your doctor's advice, it would seem that this is a better approach rather than doing preemptive fasts. And God knows best.

Posted June 9, 2014