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Can You Take Insulin while Fasting?

22 March, 2024
Q As-salamu `alaykum. My mother is a diabetic patient for many years and now due to her age and health, it is growing more and more difficult for her to fast. She wanted to ask you if she can take insulin during fasting, because if she doesn’t take it, her sugar level will rise uncontrollably. She takes insulin injection 3 times a day and the maximum she can do is to take injection at sahur time which will work for 12 hours but she has 4 hours left to fast. Please, advise us in detail.


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:

Your mother may take the insulin injection while fasting; it doesn’t break the fast. However, if her fasting will harm her—according to her reliable physicians—she is then allowed not to fast and expiate for missing the fast days of Ramadan.

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Responding to your question, Dr. Hatem Al-Hajj, Dean of Shari`ah Academy of America, stated:

Firstly, should a diabetic fast? This depends on the severity of the disease. The patient should see a trustworthy Muslim physician and ask him if fasting for his/her particular case would be harmful.

If no Muslim physicians are within reach, then, I would recommend asking two non-Muslim physicians that he would trust. If they agree that it would harm him/her to fast, then he/she is entitled to the concession of breaking the fast.

In this case, he or she will only need to expiate by feeding a poor person one meal per each day he does not fast.

Secondly, if your mother decides to fast, then she may get her insulin shots while fasting; injections do not invalidate fasting unless they are nutritious.

This is the fatwa of the Islamic Fiqh Assembly of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Decision Number: 93 (10/1). Session Venue: Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Session Date: Safar 23rd – 28th, 1418 A.H. / June 28th – July 3rd, 1997 C.E.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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