بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

During Ramadan, Sheikh Suleiman Anwar received a number of inquires related to taking prescription medication in the form of tablets/pills/capsules or in liquid form during fasting. 

It appears that many muslims believe that their fast is valid, while they are required to and actually ingest prescription medication, such as tablets/pills/capsules and in liquid form, during the fasting hours of the day (from the beigining dawn to sundown).

It also appears that many muslims do not know that ingesting/swallowing prescription medication in the form of tablets/pills/capsules or in liquid form during the fasting hours nullifies the fast.

According to the Sharia, a person who is required to ingest medication during the fasting hours is considered ill, and as such is exempt from fasting.  With regard to fasting during the month of Ramadan, Allah says:

أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ

[Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day)… (2:184)

Therefore, if your illness is temporary/brief (curable), you are not required to fast, and you can make up your fast after Ramadan, when you are not required to take the medication.  Your fast is not valid if you are required to take medication (and ingesting it) during the fasting hours.  However, if the fast itself in not a burden on you and does not cause complications for you (due to your illness), and you are able to take the medication after the fast for the day is complete (at sundown), you should fast, because Allah says:

 وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

 And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know. (2:184)

If your illness is permanent/persistent (life-long illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), you are exempt from fasting, and you are not required to make it up after the month of Ramadan is over, but you have to provide a meal (or its monetary equivalent) for a muslim who is poor or destitute for every day that you are not able to fast.  Allah says:

وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ

And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day)… (2:184)

If your illness is temporary/brief, it is a requirement to make up the missed days at a later time, after the month of Ramadan is over, instead of feeding a poor or destitute muslim for every day you were unable to fast.

The priority should be to consult a practicing muslim physician to determine if you are able to fast.  Furthermore, with regard to determining whether you are able to ingest the prescribed medication during the time of the day when you are not required to fast (between sundown and dawn), the priority should also be to consult a practicing muslim physician (who is also fasting).  If you are unable to, then a non-muslim physician will do. 

وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ ثُمَّ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا ۚ إِنَّا مِنَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُنتَقِمُونَ

And who does greater evil than he who is reminded of the signs of His Lord, then turns away from them? We shall take vengeance upon the criminals. (32:22)

And Allah knows best…

Suleiman Anwar

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