I have a chronic chest infection and fasting puts strain on my body. Should I fast?
I am a 44-year-old British Muslim woman; I have been fasting every Ramadan since 1991. In 1992, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erthymatosis. Lupus is an autoimmune hereditary disease and its triggers are emotional stress and physical strain on the body. I was ill during the last two Ramadans and was hospitalized last year and had my gall bladder removed because it had become ulcerated. This year my immune levels so low that I now have a chronic chest infection. I was told that fasting could be putting a strain on my body and I read online that some sufferers have been advised by their doctors to refrain from fasting. However, I take my obligation seriously and have always fasted. Could you guide me on what I should do next year? Should I continue to fast or not?
Fasting is one of the obligations of Islam that God based on ability. It is permissible for a person who cannot fast to refrain from performing this obligation based on the legal dispensation. Rather, in such a case it becomes obligatory to refrain from fasting if specialized physicians opine that fasting is harming.
A person suffering from a temporary illness is to make up the days on which he broke the fast upon regaining health. However, it is not obligatory for a person who suffers from a chronic disease where there is no hope of recovery to make up the missed fast days. Rather, in this case it becomes necessary to compensate for the days on which fasting was not possible by feeding a poor person for each missed fast day according to his financial ability. It is permissible to pay the value of the meal in cash. A poor person whose income hardly suffices him and his dependents is not to compensate for refraining from fasting.
May God grant you a speedy recovery.