Am I Exempted From Fasting If I Have a Medical Condition? (Shafi’i)

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

If I have to take a medication twice a day, which dehydrates me, am I exempted from fasting?

Also, if we are afflicted with a mental health disorder, do we fall under those whom are exempted from fasting?

Answer: Wa‘alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. I pray this finds you in the best of states.

Physical and mental conditions can exempt one from fasting in Ramadan. However, due to the individuality of each case, you would need to consult a reliable local physician and scholar who is familiar with the details of your condition to fully assess if you would be exempted from fasting.

The general rulings which apply to persons on medication are that one should:

1. Discuss alternative posology schedules with your physician to see if it can be worked around the fasting day.

2. Discuss alternative medication or therapies which do not have the same side-effects, such as severe dehydration.

3. If it is established that one must take the medication during the fast, or the necessary medication produces side effects that make fasting too much of hardship, then one should see if they can make up the fasts during the shorter/colder days of the year. If that is not possible, but one recovers at a later point in time, then one would be obliged to make up the fasts then.

4. If there is no hope of recovery, and they are unable to ever make up the fasts in the year due to the condition, then they would not be obligated to make the fasts up, though they would have to pay a fidia. A fidia is an expiation, and consists of one mudd of the main staple food (a dry measure consisting of a medium handful, amounting to approximately 0.51 litres) of one’s locality. One mudd must be paid for each fast day missed.

[Bushra al Karim]

Please also refer to the following answer:

Long-Term Illness that Prevents Fasting

I wish you the best of health and iman.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.