Illness and Restriction by a Physician | Islamic Laws by The Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei
Illness and Restriction by a Physician
Q 744: Some physicians who are not truly committed to Islamic laws forbid their patients to fast, claiming that fasting is detrimental to their health. Should their orders be acted upon or not?
A: If the physician is not trustworthy and his statements are not relied upon to the extent that the patient fears harm due to fasting, then his statements are not worthy of notice. Otherwise, they should not fast.
Q 745: My mother was ill for a period of almost 13 years and could not fast. I know for certain that what prevented her from this duty was her need to take medicine. Please tell us if it is obligatory for her to perform the qada for these missed fasts.
A: If she was not able to fast due to her illness, she does not have to perform the qada for those days.
Q 746: I did not fast after reaching the age of maturity until I was twelve years old, because I was physically too weak to do so. What should I do now in this regard?
A: You should perform the qada for the days of fasting that you did not perform after becoming ritually mature. And if you deliberately — voluntarily and without a shari excuse — did not fast, then you will have to pay the kaffarah as well.
Q 747: An ophthalmologist ordered me not to fast due to an eye disease. But, I did not pay attention to his order and began fasting. However, while fasting I felt a pain in the afternoons on some days. Now, I wonder whether I should refrain from fasting or bear the pain until sunset. Basically, is it obligatory for me to fast? And should I maintain the fast on the days when I am not certain whether I can continue fasting until sunset or not? What should my intention be?
A: If you are confident — due to what your physician said — that fasting is harmful for your health or you fear so, then it is not obligatory for you to fast. In fact, it is not permissible for you to fast in such a situation, and the intention to fast is not correct when there is fear of harm. When there is no fear of harm, the fasting intention is not problematic, but the validity of your fast depends on the actual absence of harm.
Q 748: I wear medical glasses and at the present, my eyes are too weak. The doctors tell me that if I do not strengthen my physique my eyesight will get weaker. If I am unable to perform the Ramadan fasts, what is my duty?
A: If fasting is harmful for your eyes, you are not obligated to fast; in fact, it is obligatory that you refrain from fasting. And if your illness continues until the next Ramadan, then your duty is to give one mudd [750 grams] of food to the needy for every day that you did not fast.
Q 749: My mother is seriously sick, and my father is also physically weak. Nevertheless, both of them fast. Sometimes, it is quite evident that fasting aggravates their illness. So far, I have not been able to persuade them to refrain from fasting at least at times when their illness is serious. Please guide us concerning the rule that applies to their fasting?
A: The criterion in determining the inability to fast, or whether fasting causes illness, or aggravates it, is the opinion of the fasting person himself. However, if he knows that fasting is harmful for him and he still decides to fast, it is Haram.
Q 750: Last year I had surgery on my kidneys, and the surgeon ordered me not to fast for the rest of my life. However, I eat and drink normally and do not feel any signs of illness. What is my duty?
A: If you personally do not fear any harm in fasting and there is no shari ground for that, you are obligated to fast during the month of Ramadan.
Q 751: Since some physicians are not aware of Islamic laws, should the patient obey a physicians order if he forbids fasting?
A: If the physicians statement makes the patient certain that fasting is harmful for him or he fears of harm in fasting — either on the basis of his statements or on some other reasonable grounds — then it is not obligatory for him to fast.
Q 752: I have kidney stones and the only way to prevent them from calcifying is to continuously consume fluids. As the doctors have prohibited me from fasting, what is my duty regarding fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan?
A: If the treatment of your illness requires that you drink water and other fluids during the day, it is not obligatory for you to fast.
Q 753: Diabetics are required to take insulin injections once or twice a day. Also, their meals should not be delayed or taken at long intervals; otherwise they might go into a coma or get fits. That is why physicians advise them to have four meals a day. Please give your opinion concerning their fasting.
A: If abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset is harmful to their health, fasting is not obligatory for them. In fact, it is not permissible for them to fast.