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What Can a Non-Fasting Muslim Do in Ramadan?

Questioner

Asif

Reply Date

May 17, 2018

Question

I have recently been diagnosed with a condition that prevents me from the fast. I have fasted all of my life in Ramadan, since I can remember, and now I feel lost as to what to do. What can a person who can't fast in Ramadan do to feel like it is Ramadan?

Consultant

Answer


Non-Fasting Muslim

Short Answer: Ramadan is a means to an end, not the end in itself. Allah has given us the opportunity to draw near to Him in Ramadan even when we cannot fast. The point of Ramadan really is reconnecting with Allah through the Quran. Fasting helps to enable us to draw nearer to God through the Quran by refocusing us on what matters more than food. Please check the tips below.

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Asalaamu alaykum Asif,

Ramadan Mubarak to you, my brother.

I am sorry to hear of your illness, and I pray Allah gives you peace in the knowledge that He has you in His hand.

Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves, for one reason or another, unable to fast in Ramadan. And it’s easy to feel discouraged and left out.

The reality is, however, that God is an incredibly merciful God and He has given us the opportunity to draw near to Him in Ramadan even when we cannot fast, without being held to account for not being able to participate in the fast.

I have been Muslim for eight years now but have only been able to fast for around 3 and a half of those.

Why?

I was perpetually pregnant/nursing/both.

I always felt left out, and like my dedication to Allah was half as good as that of my fasting sisters and brothers.

But this is not an accurate understanding of things. 

The Real Purpose of Ramadan

For starters, the point of Ramadan, contrary to many ideas, is not the fast.

In fact, fasting in Ramadan is a means to an end, not the end in itself.

The point of Ramadan really is reconnecting with Allah through the Quran.

Fasting helps to enable us to draw nearer to God through the Quran by refocusing us on what matters more than food and entertainment.

But fasting is not the point, and it’s not the only way to fully experience Ramadan.

Practical Suggestions

How can you experience Ramadan without fasting?

– Spend as much time as you can on reading and especially understanding the Quran.

– Spend more time and energy on helping the poor and the weak among you. Get involved in a local charity organization.

– Feed a fasting person or two or ten. Allah promises equal reward for those who feed fasting people, as the fasting people themselves! The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person.” (Tirmidhi)

– Spend your energy and time investing in teaching others something valuable that you know a lot about. This is charity, too!

– Choose to abstain from foods you really enjoy (but may be bad for you) that will not affect your health. Love ice cream or sweets? Abstain from these during daylight hours.

– Decorate your space at home and at work with festive Ramadan greetings so that you feel the season, and others will know it is Ramadan and perhaps feel inclined to ask questions about Islam and Ramadan. This can be excellent dawah!

– Choose to abstain from activities you love (that may waste time), like watching movies or TV or sports, or listening to music for the whole month.

– Take a social media/technology sabbatical for the whole month. Take a break from those connections to deepen your connection to God.

These are just a few ideas, but there are many more.

The point is: fasting is not the point!

Fasting serves as a means to bring us nearer to our true goal, which is nearness to God through obedience and self-reflection.

I hope this helps. Please keep in touch. 

Salam. 

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

What Are the 6 Etiquettes of Fasting During Ramadan?

Who Shouldn’t Fast?

Can’t Pray or Fast? 5 Ways to Optimize Ramadan

Ramadan: Time for Becoming Better Muslims




About Kaighla Um Dayo

Kaighla Um Dayo is one of the authors of "The New Muslim's Field Guide", expected to be published in Feb. 2018. She is also a former Ask About Islam editor. She is also a regular contributor at islamwich.com, where she ruminates on life as a Muslim American. Her favorite things are meditation, painting, drinking tea, and being outside in nature.

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