I want to ask whether the children of a deceased person can fast on his behalf or pay fidyah for the fast he failed to observe. The deceased did not fast during Ramadan except for a few years in his lifetime. And when he realized he should he was no more able to accomplish that due to severe illness. Now his children want to keep fasts on his behalf or pay the fidyah. Is that possible for them? Will the deceased get the reward and be exonerated from his failure to fulfil this important religious duty?
The Shari'ah allows the sick and the traveller to leave the fast. However, one is obliged to complete the count once one has recovered from the illness or have returned from the journey. If a man is forced to leave the fast for many years and intends to fulfil the obligation after recovery but does not find enough respite and dies then he is not held accountable. God Almighty decides such matters considering the intentions of the person involved. We can hope better for the man because he never recovered. He failed to fulfil the duty not because of lack of resolve on his part but because of the reasons beyond his control. There is no need to pay any fidyah on his behalf. Fasting by the children does not necessarily benefit the dead parents. The only thing that can be expected to extend to him is the act that is done under his command which he gave during his lifetime but died before it could be fulfilled. A man, for example, asks his children to pay the fidyah on his behalf. They resolve to do that. Then he dies before they could fulfil his wish. In this case we can expect that God would grant him the reward for the act that was initiated by him.
However, if the children still want to do something they should feed a poor for every fast he left. This would earn them reward and it is hoped God would bless the deceased because of their prayers for their parent. Please note that the option of the fidyah is not prescribed for the sick in the first place. He is obliged to offer the left over fasts after recovery. The option to pay the fidyah for the permanently ill too is a personal opinion based on ijtihad.