[Q-ID0479] I can’t Fast due to arthritis, what should I do?

QUESTION:

What do the scholars and muftis of the noble Shari’ah say regarding the following matter: I am suffering from arthritis and due to the pains in my joints I am unable to fast. What should I do?

ANSWER:

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

You must fast as the fasts of Ramadan are فرضِ قطعی (obligatory and proven from definitive sources). Allah عزوجل has given the command to fast in this month and has stated:

فَمَنۡ شَہِدَ مِنۡکُمُ الشَّہۡرَ فَلْیَصُمْہُؕ

“So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, then complete its fasts.” [Surah Baqarah v.185]

Great emphasis has been given to fasting in this month. The Messenger of Allah صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has stated:

أَرْبَعٌ فَرَضَهُنَّ اللهُ فِي الْإِسْلَامِ، فَمَنْ جَاءَ بِثَلَاثٍ، لَمْ يُغْنِينَ عَنْهُ شَيْئًا، حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ بِهِنَّ جَمِيعًا الصَّلَاةُ، وَالزَّكَاةُ، وَصِيَامُ رَمَضَانَ، وَحَجُّ الْبَيْتِ

Allah عزوجل has made four things obligatory in Islam. No benefit will come to the one who acts upon three of them; only until he acts upon them all:

  1. Salāh
  2. Zakāh
  3. Fasting
  4. Hajj

[Musnad Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal ج29 رقم 17789 ]

From this, we deduce that if one abandons fasting, without a valid excuse, then there is danger that the rest of his actions are in vain. After hearing this warning, any Muslim who fears Allah should not have the slightest bit of courage to miss a fast of Ramadan without a valid reason.

However, if the illness increases as a result of fasting or if the illness causes severe, unbearable pain because of which medicine must be consumed, then it is permissible to leave the fast. When the patient has recovered, he must make up the missed fasts. He may do so during the winter season as the days are very short and consuming medicine once may suffice for the entire day. In regards to making up missed fasts of Ramadan, Allah عزوجل has stated:

فَعِدَّۃٌ مِّنْ اَیَّامٍ اُخَرَؕ یُرِیۡدُ اللہُ بِکُمُ الْیُسْرَ وَلَا یُرِیۡدُ بِکُمُ الْعُسْرَ

“…so fast in an equal number of other days. Allah intends ease for you and not hardship.” [Surah Baqarah v.185]

Anyhow, fasting is a guarantor of good health. The noble Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has stated:

صُوْ مُوْ ا تَصِحُّوا

“Fast and you will be healthy.” [Dur al-Manthur vol.1]

The studies of an American Scandinavian research board have proven that fasting reduces the pain of patients suffering from such illnesses. They write:

“After fasting, 5 of 15 patients who were trialled showed objective signs of improvement, compared with only one of the controls. The fasting patients showed reduced pain, stiffness, consumption of analgesics, several clinical variables, and serum concentration of orosomucoid.”

Investigations held by the University of Lund, Sweden showed that patients suffering from arthritis were relieved of their pains. They write:

“Rheumatoid arthritis patients showed significant clinical improvement from practising prolonged fasting for 7 to 10 days. The improvement is reversible and lost when eating is taken up again.”

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Dawud Hanif

Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0479] I can’t Fast due to arthritis, what should I do?

Also see:

[Q-ID0477] I can’t Fast due to Diabetes, do I give fidyah?

[Q-ID0349] I have Diabetes & receive insulin injections – do I have to fast?

[Q-ID0346] What are the legally valid excuses of not fasting?

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