This post is for all Muslims suffering from a mental disorder as well as for those not suffering from a mental disorder. It is Ramadan and time for fasting. We have been given a (second) chance to worship Allah (s.w.t) and show our appreciation for everything we have received thus far.
Today we will be discussing why it is important for Muslims who suffer from a mental disorder to talk with their doctor before fasting. Also, it is important for Muslims who are able to fast to understand that a person suffering from a mental disorder already is burdened beyond belief. Adding fasting to the equation would make everything worse.
For many, Ramadan poses the challenge of the inability to take medications during the day. Doctors must be consulted and informed of the commencement date of Ramadan and they are best placed in deciding whether one is capable of the fast or not. Making the decision on your own to fast, without doctor approval is irresponsible and religiously unacceptable.
Medicine and healing are Islamic functions. There is no shame or sin in not fasting due to medical prohibition. Allah, the Al-Mighty, Knows His creation best and it is He who said:
“Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.” Al-Baqarah 2:185
From what I have learned about my own religion is that an illness which there is no prognosis of gainful recovery wherein fasting could be sustained without harm. In this case, one is not obliged to make up the fast; rather they should feed one poor person for each day of Ramadan.
For those who don’t suffer from a mental disorder. What can you do to help Muslims this Ramadan who do suffer from a mental disorder?
1) just be there for them
2) listen to them
3) be inclusive
These are three steps of showing compassion and sincerity towards those suffering from a mental disorder. It is important to be there for them even if they are not fasting. The fact that they can’t fast may cause negative emotional side effects. This is why it is important for Muslims to be there for one another in times of need.
Hopefully this post helps those who are pondering whether to fast or not.