Abu Dhabi: During Ramadan, individuals are exempt from fasting, under Islamic law, if they are unwell. Yet, many dedicated worshippers across the UAE are continuing to fast while adhering to their doctors’ advice. Despite certain challenges, they told Gulf News that they found it almost unthinkable not to fast during Ramadan — which has been a lifelong habit.
“I have been fasting since I was eight years old and I cannot imagine not fasting during Ramadan. This year, too, I am fasting throughout the month, under advice from my doctors. There are days when I do get headaches or my mood feels low, but I don’t feel like it warrants not to fast,” Mona Mohammad, 46, a cancer survivor from Sudan, told Gulf News.
Love for Ramadan
Mohammad was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a mastectomy to treat the condition. Last year, she also had her liver surgically removed after doctors detected a benign tumour. The cancer survivor and mother-of-three said she continued to fast through it all.
“I love Ramadan and everything that comes with it — the focus on the Quran, the nightly Taraweeh prayers and the spiritual connection we experience. And I am glad that I am able to fast,” Mohammad said.
Islam mandates fasting as a form of worship in Ramadan for all able-bodied, healthy adults. Yet, across the Muslim world, adults who are afflicted by a variety of conditions — including diabetes, asthma and hypertension — continue to fast under medical guidance.
Doctors, therefore, advise patients to discuss their medication regimens ahead of Ramadan, and also urge that all fasting individuals adopt healthy habits. This must include a healthy diet, adequate hydration and sufficient sleep.
Kairunnisa, a 53-year-old resident from India, is committed to her Ramadan fasting, even though she lives with lung fibrosis and needs supplemental oxygen throughout the day.
“A few years ago, I was hospitalised when my condition deteriorated and this was the only time I did not try to fast. I do face certain challenges during the day: It is difficult to talk much and I feel rather weak, but with the advice of my dedicated doctor Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, specialist pulmonologist at Medeor Hospital, I have managed to continue fasting. And I want to continue doing so, because you never know when it might be your last Ramadan,” she said.
Fasting can be challenging for people with chronic conditions. It can also be harder for older individuals.
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