Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
My grandmother is required to take a drug twice a day. One time is around midnight and the other time is around noon. What should she do during Ramadan, when she has to take it during the day? Does she have to fast during Ramadan?
She has to take this drug every day for the rest of her life, so she can’t make up any fasts later.
May Allah Most High grant her steadfastness and a tremendous reward for facing the trials in her life with such religious concern.
The general principle is that all sane, adult, resident Muslims of sound health must fast during the month of Ramadan unless they have a genuine excuse not to do so. The condition of the validity of such an excuse is that it has been established by
- an upright, expert Muslim doctor or
- clear, undeniable signs, or
- based on past, relevant experience. If the doctor, however, is not Muslim or he does not know the limits of the Sacred Law, you should make a reasonable judgment or, ideally, verify the conclusions made with a legal expert (faqih).
Allah Most High says, “Fast for a specific number of days, but if one of you is ill or on a journey, on other days later. For those who can fast only with extreme difficulty, there is a way to compensate– feed a needy person. But if anyone does good of his own accord, it is better for him, and fasting is better for you if only you knew.” [Quran, 2:184]
As such, you should consult her physician and see if there is a way she can move her medicine to outside the fasting hours. Note that you should ask him for his medical opinion, namely, whether it is possible to reschedule and take the medicine before sunrise and after sunset, and not for a legal verdict (fatwa) on whether or not she should fast.
If this is not possible or it is unreasonably difficult, she would ask for the same change in schedule at some other time of year, such as during winter when the fasting hours are short, and fast then instead as makeups (qada’) for the missed Ramadan.
If that, too, is not possible, and there is nothing that can be done, she would be considered exempt from fasting with a chronic excuse and would need to make the expiatory payments (fidya) for each missed day of fasting. However, you should confirm this final judgment with Muslim legal experts (fuqaha) before going ahead with it. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah (2.292/358)]
Please also see:
- Paying Expiation and Not Fasting Due to a Chronic Illness
- Too Sick to Fast in Ramadan, Too Poor to Pay the Expiatory Payment (Fidya)
- Long-Term Illness that Prevents Fasting
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.