Who Is Exempted From Fasting During Ramadan?

On 11 Apr 2021

Who Is Exempted From Fasting During Ramadan?

The holy month of Ramadan is coming. Muslims around the world are set to begin their 30-day fast. But, what is fasting and why Muslims do it during Ramadan?

Fasting is to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. 

From sunrise to sunset many Muslims will not eat or drink anything, believing that this will bring themselves closer to Allah.

As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, fasting is compulsory for most. However, there are exemptions for those who are unable to observe it.

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The following standards explain why people might be excused from fasting during Ramadan 2021:


Those who are sick do not have to fast during Ramadan. This includes:

- mental illness

- physical illness

- those on medication

The exemption exists over fears that fasting could make the person's illness worse or slow down their recovery.

"It's not always as clear cut as it always appears to be. For example, if you're suffering acute or bad mental health, a lot of scholars and religious teachers say you're exempted from fasting," says Journalist Shafi Musaddique.

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Prepubescent children do not have to fast, however some do choose to while others fast for half a day.

If puberty is delayed, fasting is obligatory after a certain age.

Breastfeeding mothers

Mothers who are breastfeeding are also exempted from fasting, because babies need a lot of nutrition while young.

"Babies get really, really hungry and they want to drink a lot of milk. Mums need a lot of nutrition, lots of hydration so mums are exempt if they are breastfeeding and feel they can't fast," says Love in a Headscarf author Shelina Janmohamed.

Pregnant women

If you are pregnant you are not expected to fast, in case the fasting causes harm to the unborn baby.

"When you're pregnant you get really tired, really thirsty, really hungry. The baby needs nourishment and so you don't have to fast if you feel you can't manage while you're pregnant," adds Janmohamed.

Menstruating women

A hadith says that menstruating women are forbidden from observing the fast.

"People who are exempt from fasting are elders, people who are sick, also women who are menstruating or pregnant, or breastfeeding mothers," says Broadcast journalist Hanan Bihi.

Women who are on their period are also excused from praying as well.

The elderly

Elderly people who could find fasting too strenuous are also exempt as it could make them ill.

However, the elderly person who does not fast is expected to feed a poor person every day that they break the fast.

People who are travelling

Those who are travelling and are going to spend some time away from home, are not required to fast.

Whether you are fasting or not, celebrate Ramadan 2021 safely and peacefully with your family and friends.


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