Ramadan 2021: Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients may fast, says scholar

Grand Mufti at the fatwa section of IACAD adds they must self-isolate themselves at home and follow all precautionary norms

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. A lit ramadan colorful lantern with flowers and fairylights in the background.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A lit ramadan colorful lantern with flowers and fairylights in the background.

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Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients could be allowed to fast during the Holy month of Ramadan if they feel up to it, a top Dubai cleric has said.

Dr Mohammed Ayada Al Kobaisi, Grand Mufti at the fatwa section of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) in Dubai, told Khaleej Times that asymptomatic Covid-19 patients could fast, if they self-isolate themselves at home and follow all precautionary norms.

Fasting during the holy month is mandatory for all able Muslims and is considered to be an act of worship. Islam excuses people from fasting, if they are unable to do so due to valid reasons.

“Covid-19 patients are permitted not to fast during Ramadan. But if they don’t have any symptoms or have mild ones and don’t need any medication, they can certainly fast. The only condition for fasting for them is that they should be able to do so without causing themselves any physical harm or complications that may further worsen their health,” he said.

Tenets of Islam upholds that Allah never burdens a soul more than it can bear and intends unease. Allah has pardoned people who are unable to fast due to valid reasons, said Al Kobaisi while quoting from a verse from the Holy Quran.

Individuals experiencing any form of sickness -- temporary or permanent --- and feel that fasting can aggravate their health are exempted.

Al Kobaisi added: “Since SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19 affects people differently, ruling on fasting differs according to each person’s situation and health condition. If a sick person feels that fasting may hamper the recovery process or cause greater damage to the body, then h/she is exempted. Some Covid-19 patients can even break their fast if they fear any physical harm may be caused due to fasting.”

For all those who recover, and are able to fast again, they must make up for the missed days, he said. “ They must fast for the same number of days (that they have missed) later on when they are healthy. As for those who cannot fast any longer due to old age or persisting health issues, they are exempted from fasting. Instead, they have to give a compensation (fidyah), which is giving a poor or needy person a meal or food, for each missed day of their fasting,” Al Kobaisi said.

“We advise all patients to consult their trusted Muslim doctor about the possibility and safety of fasting, and follow their advice,” he added.

According to the tenets of Islam, people exempted from fasting include those suffering from any form of ailment — physical or mental — and they feel that the fast would worsen their health condition; people who are travelling may or may not fast depending on the distance they have to cover but must make up for the missed fast later on. Women, who are menstruating, or pregnant, and lactating mothers are exempted from fasting and can make up for the missed fasts up later on.

Also, those who are unable to fast due to old age-related issues such as weakness, senility, illnesses are exempted from fasting during the Holy month. They can make up for the missed fasts by feeding a needy soul for a missed fast. Children, who have not reached puberty, also fall in the category of those exempted from fasting.

 

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