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Can Kidney Patients Break the Fast?

28 March, 2024
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I would like to ask a religious question. I am a 26 year old female. When I was 21 year old, I had problems controlling my bladder. Whenever I drink one glass of water, I would have to pass urine 3 times or maybe more. I thought this was not a problem until 6 months ago. I was hospitalized and diagnosed with amoeba cyst and campylobacter jejuna bacteria. This has nothing to do with my urinary tract. The specialist requested for a CT-Scan to be performed on me. From the scan, the specialist found that I have a horse shoe kidney (two kidneys joined into one). This explains why I can't control my bladder. My urinary tract is very small. If I were to control it and refused to go to the toilet, I won't be able to pass urine at all! I was hospitalized 3 times just to drain the urine out of me.My question is actually related to fasting: I have no problem concerning fasting during Ramadan until this happened. I kept drinking lots of water during sahur. There was no problem passing urine but by noon, I was unable to pass urine anymore as I was dehydrated. I had to endure the pain till the time of breaking the fast. It was so painful that I was even counting down the time. When it was time to breaking the fast, the first thing I did was to drink plenty of water. Later, I had problems urinating as there was a painful burning sensation after 7 hours of dehydration. That's not all. I consulted many doctors and even the urologist regarding my problem but all they can advise me is to drink plenty of water to flush the acidity in me. My question is: how do I go through fasting the month of Ramadan if I have this problem? All these years, I suffered through by forcing myself to fast. Most of my Muslim friends, relatives and even my parents told me that 'Allah' will forgive if I don't fast. And furthermore, how am I going to make up my fasting if I don't fast during the fasting month?


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

A person suffering from a chronic disease is allowed not to fast but he has to pay ransom by feeding a poor person for each missed day of fasting.

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Responding to your questions, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, states:

Scholars have unanimously agreed that a patient is allowed not to fast, as Allah, Exalted be He, says, {Whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desire for you ease; He desire not hardship for you.(Al-Baqarah 2:185)

Based on both the Glorious Quran and the unanimity of Muslim scholars, a Muslim is allowed not to fast in Ramadan if he or she is sick.

The Muslim is allowed to abstain from fasting when fasting is feared to bring about harm. Should a healthy person fear to fall ill because of fasting, he is permitted not to fast. This could be determined through two ways: either via personal experience or on account of the advice of a reliable doctor whose knowledge and honesty is trusted.

So should a trustworthy (preferably Muslim) doctor warn a patient that fasting would harm him, the patient is allowed not to fast.

Besides, if a Muslim is permitted to abstain from fasting but still insists on fasting, he has committed a blameworthy act since he has harmed himself and refused to accept Allah’s dispensation.

So even if a Muslim fasts and abides by rules of fasting, he has thus committed an unlawful act, should he end up harming himself.

If the illness is temporary, of which a patient expects to be cured, then he is not to pay a charity or a ransom but must make up for the days of fasting he missed, as Allah, Exalted be He, says, {Let him fast the same) number of other days.}  (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

So, if he were unable to fast for a month, he is to fast for a month later. If he were unable to fast for a certain number of days, he is to make up for the exact number of fasts he missed later when Allah grants him health.

The second type of illness is the chronic illness, of which a patient does not expect to be cured. This can be determined either by personal experience or through the doctor’s advice. Thus the Islamic legal ruling of an elderly man or woman similarly applies to a patient suffering from a chronic disease.

A patient in that case has to pay a ransom: to feed a poor person for each day missed. According to some jurists, such as Abu Hanifah, he may pay the value of a meal to the poor, the weak, or the needy.

 Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.