Why We Fast During Ramadan
Fasting during Ramadan is a compulsory practice for Muslims during daylight hours. By abstaining from food, water and impure thoughts, it is believed that the soul will be cleansed, and a deeper connection will be felt with both Allah and the poor and needy.
Those who fast should still eat at least two meals a day - Suhoor to begin the fast at dawn and Iftar to break the fast at sunset. Meals should be similar to those you normally eat, however it is important to include food groups that will sustain you throughout the day. Complex carbohydrates such as wheat, oats and rice, fruit, vegetables, sources of protein such as milk, dairy, meat and fish and starchy foods like potatoes and bread are all excellent choices to keep you sustained throughout the day. It is advised to avoid processed and fatty food, as these can make you feel sluggish and tired.
It is traditional for the fast to be broken with a glass of water and a handful of dates – this is to ensure a quick release of energy until your Iftar meal is consumed.
Are there people who shouldn’t fast?
There are a number of reasons why certain people cannot partake in Ramadan fasting:
- You are taking medication for a long-term condition
- You are in the midst of hospital treatment including blood transfusions and peritoneal dialysis
- You are a child (not yet reached puberty)
- You are breastfeeding a child
- You suffer from severe migraines
- You suffer from diabetes and must inject insulin
What happens if you cannot fast?
If for whatever reason, you cannot fast during Ramadan, then there are ways to make up for this.
Fidyah – If you are ill during Ramadan and are unable to fast, then you need to donate to pay for someone else to be fed. The rate is currently £5 per missed day, which should cover the cost of two meals. If all days in Ramadan are missed, then £150 donation during Ramadan would need to be paid.
Kaffarah – If you deliberately miss or break your fast during Ramadan without a medical or just reason to do so, then there are two options available. You can either fast for 60 days, or feed 60 people at a rate of £5 per person.