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Last Updated: 2014/02/25
Summary of question
Is it necessary to give the qadha of the prayers and fasts which a person missed at a time when he had lost his memory?
question
Assalam o Alikum, My grandmother is very old. She has been losing her memory from last three years and now she has totally lost it. She used to be in her senses sometimes and other times she would not recognize no one. Her children want to given kaffara for her qadha prayers and fastings. How much kaffara is there for one qaza fasting? Can someone else other than her children read her qadha prayers if her children give money to someone for it and how much money would they need to give for qadha prayers of one full year. Furthermore, can money be given to the poor as kaffara for the sins she may have committed during her life such as "gheebat" or "dil azaari" etc. Please advise.
Concise answer
Rule of Prayer
If a patient does not have his senses in such a way that he cannot discern the prayer timing, the prayers which he has missed are not necessary to make up. That is, no qadha is obligatory in the given case but if he were mindful and he neglected the prayers intentionally, he must perform the qadha of those prayers.  If he has died, his heirs or close relatives should give the qadha of those prayers on his behalf. [i] As well, if he is in his sense to a sufficient degree, but he suffers from memory failure, the obligatory precaution is that the eldest child should give the qadha of his prayers after his death.[ii]
Rule of Fasting
One who cannot observe fast due to old age or it is extremely difficult for him to fast, it is not obligatory on him to observe fast but he must give one mudd (750 grams) of food stuffs like wheat or barley and the likes to the poor.[iii]
In any case, it is permissible for anyone to offer the qadha of the prayers and fasts of the deceased, irrespective of who he is. And it is also permissible to fix a wage for it so that someone may be hired for it. For information in this regard, everyone can contact his own Mujtahid's office.
In addition, although giving sadaqa (charity) and doing deeds on behalf of the deceased is recommended, there is no kaffara for  sins such as stealing which have something to do with haqq al-naas (rights of people). Seeking forgiveness (istighfar) would suffice.
 

[i] Musavi Gulpaigani, Sayyid Muhammad Reza, Majma al-Masail, researched and edited by Karimi Jahromi, Ali and Thabeti Hamedani, Ali, Neiri Hamedani, Ali, Vol.1, p. 223, question 4, Dar al-Quran al-Karimi, Qom, second edition,  1409 A.H.; Fazel, Muhammad, Jami al-Masail, vol.1, p. 107, question 369, Amir Qalam Publications, Qom, 11th edition.
[ii] Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Istifta'at Jadid, vol.2, p. 121 and 122, Imam Ali (A.S) School Publications, Qom, second edition, 1427 A.H.
[iii]  Musavi, Khomeini, Sayyid Rohullah, Tawzih al-Masail, researched and edited by Quli Pour Gilani, Muslim, p. 358, Issue No. 1635 first edition, 1426 A.H.
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