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Fasting During Ramadan

Fasting During Ramadan

During the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world leave behind their day-to-day life and enter a spiritual world full of discipline, humbleness and fasting.

The core significance of fasting in Ramadan is not to deprive us of food and drink. Fasting has been gifted to us in order to attain and strengthen our Taqwa.

Taqwa means consciousness in faith, increased virtue, ethical values, and morality. It leads us to love all that is good and refrain from all that is considered a sin. It is classified as a state of purity of the mind, body, and soul; these are the benefits of fasting in Ramadan.

 It is mentioned in Hadith that fasting shall protect us from the fire of Hell, and the angels will protect us until we break our fast. However, not everyone can fast. Some may be in untenable circumstances where fasting would be difficult or could have an impact on their well-being. Allah (SWT) is not unjust and does not command from us that we cannot achieve.

Who is exempt from fasting in Ramadan?

We are often asked whether a pregnant woman should fast in Ramadan, whether diabetics fast in Ramadan, or who is exempt, so we hope that this list below clarifies a bit more about who is exempt from fasting in Ramadan.

  • Children under the age of adolescence (puberty) are not obliged to fast. This is commonly around the age of nine years for girls and 15 years for boys.

  • It is not permissible for a woman to fast during her cycle.

  • People with any form of mental illness are not obligated to fast.

  • People in need of regular medication should not fast if their well-being could be affected.

  • The elderly is not able to fast.

  • A woman during pregnancy or the feeding period isn’t able to fast.

  • Those who are permanently ill aren’t able to fast.

  • Those who are travelling (there are certain guidelines for this) aren’t required to fast.

With regards to whether diabetics can fast in Ramadan, the answer is that yes, they can, but they should be very observant about how they are feeling. Many diabetics do actually choose to fast, and they can do so safely, providing they listen to their body and follow their doctor’s advice.

There are also some occurrences that do not break the fast; these include:

No one is expecting you to be infallible, and there are some occasions during which accidentally breaking your fast occurs, but that can be discounted as accidental. These include: 

  • Accidental vomiting

  • Forgetting that you are fasting (as long as you continue as soon as you remember)

  • Brushing your teeth and accidentally swallowing water/toothpaste

Reciting a dua for fasting in Ramadan and acknowledging that there may be a fine or forfeit applied to these exemptions will get you back on track. However, there are certain forfeits that apply to most of these exemptions (Fidya and Kaffarah) which will ensure that you are suitably penitent and make reparations accordingly.

Fidya is applied when an individual’s circumstances dictate that they are unable to fast due to helplessness. A £5 donation per fast day is required – calculated according to how much it would cost to feed one hungry person two meals a day.

Kaffarah is applied when an individual has intentionally broken their fast. The payment is made for each day fasted, calculated on the basis of feeding 60 people two meals in a day – 60 x £5 per day missed. The individual is also expected to make up for the days lost by fasting at a later stage.

 For now, though, it is worth sparing a thought for those who struggle to fast during Ramadan. These individuals are likely to struggle all year round, and they need the help and support of others. So, donate to Muslim Aid this Ramadan, or indeed, any time of year, and help us to help those in need.

We are a faith-based British international charity that provides help to people who are victims of natural disasters or conflict or suffering from poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, injustice, deprivation or lack of skills and economic opportunities.

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