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She has to offer expiation for killing but she cannot free a slave or fast, so can she feed a number of poor persons?

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Question

There is a woman who killed another woman by accident and when she asked about the ruling, they told her that she has to feed sixty poor persons, but it seems that this fatwa is not correct, and she has to fast for two months. But now she is elderly and cannot fast, so what should she do?.

Praise be to Allah.

The expiation for killing
someone by accident is to free a slave. If that is not possible then it is
fasting for two consecutive months. The one who cannot do that does not have
to do anything, and feeding the poor is not an option in this case,
according to the more sound opinion. 

Allaah, may He be exalted,
says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“It is not for a
believer to kill a believer except (that it be) by mistake; and whosoever
kills a believer by mistake, (it is ordained that) he must set free a
believing slave and a compensation (blood money, i.e. Diya) be given to the
deceased’s family unless they remit it. … And whoso finds this (the
penance of freeing a slave) beyond his means, he must fast for two
consecutive months in order to seek repentance from Allaah. And Allaah is
Ever All‑Knowing, All‑Wise”

[al-Nisa’ 4:92]

The scholars of the
Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked: Do I have to fast after
paying the diyah and how many days should I fast? Are the fasts to be
observed consecutively or can they be broken up, or can I give food
instead? 

They replied: You have to
offer expiation for killing by accident, which is freeing a believing slave.
If you cannot do that, then fast for two consecutive months. It is not valid
to break up the fasts, and feeding the poor instead is not acceptable in the
case of expiation for accidental killing, because there is no evidence for
that with regard to expiation for killing in the Book of Allaah or in the
Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
and your Lord is never forgetful. End quote. Fataawa al-Lajnah
al-Daa’imah (21/273). 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may
Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: There is a man who has diabetes, and he
has to offer expiation by fasting for two months – the expiation for
accidental killing – but he cannot fast because of his sickness. What should
he do? 

He replied: If he is unable
to fast then he does not have to do anything, because the expiation for
accidental killing can only be freeing a slave or fasting for two
consecutive months, as it says in Soorat al-Nisa’ (interpretation of the
meaning): “And whoso finds this (the penance of freeing a slave) beyond
his means, he must fast for two consecutive months in order to seek
repentance from Allaah. And Allaah is Ever All‑Knowing, All‑Wise” [al-Nisa’
4:92]. Feeding the poor is not an option here. If he is able to fast
them he must fast, otherwise it is waived in his case. 

End quote from Liqa’
al-Baab il-Maftooh 107, question no. 24. 

He was also asked: 

There is a person who has
to offer expiation for killing, and he cannot free a slave or fast. Can he
feed the poor instead, or is expiation waived in his case? 

He replied: No, it is
waived in his case. The expiation for killing is of two types only: either
freeing a slave or fasting, because Allaah, may He be exalted, did not
mention a third option. If the third option had been obligatory then Allaah
would have mentioned it, as He mentioned it in the case of expiation for
zihaar (a jaahili form of divorce): freeing a slave, and if that is not
possible then fasting for two consecutive months, and if that is not
possible then feeding sixty poor persons. But feeding the poor is not
mentioned with regard to expiation for killing. Based on that, we say that
if a person is unable to free a slave or fast, then it is waived in his
case. End quote from Liqaa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh 190, question no, 15. 

And Allaah knows best.

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