Fasting for a Diabetic Patient
Fatwa No: 86880

Question

I am a diabetic patient and I take insulin and tablet. Is it compulsory for me to fast?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The one who has a disease and encounters hardship fasting or fears that fasting causes a delay in the cure of his/her disease or increases it (such as diabetes) - we ask Allah to cure us and them - is considered as having a chronic disease.

This disease affects acts of worship, especially upon fasting because it is an act of worship in which the fasting person does not eat or drink from dawn to sunset. The diabetic patient needs some water over relatively short periods of time, and to have food in small meals in close periods of time. The acute dryness and hunger may cause dangerous repercussions to the diabetic person. These patients are of three kinds according to the treatment prescribed for them:

The first kind: the patient whose illness can be controlled by regulating his meals and practicing physical exercise.

They should fast since fasting will not harm them because of the simple nature of their disease.

The second kind: the patient who takes medication with a prescribed diet to decrease level of sugar in the blood. These are divided into two types: 1) The patient who takes medication once a day while he suffers no hardship in fasting. They have no problem with their fasting, because they can take the medicine just before dawn. 2) The patient who takes tablets twice or three times daily. In this case if they can take the tablets before dawn or after breakfast without facing any harm, they have to fast. If it is harmful to delay taking the tablets, then they have to take them and stop fasting.

The third kind: The patients who take insulin injections once, or more during the day. If the patient is satisfactorily treated with the injection with no need to take tablets and without facing hardship as a result, then they can fast the rest of the day and the injection does not break the fast. If they have to drink water or eat food, following the injection then they have to break the fast. As we said before, the diabetic patient who breaks the fast and can make it up after Ramadan has to make up the missed days. If he cannot make them up because his illness is chronic or because his illness necessitates taking tablets in fixed times during the day, or drinking water or eating food, then in this case he has to feed a poor for every day he breaks the fast in Ramadan. The patient follows whatever a trustworthy Muslim doctor advises him/her.

Allah knows best.

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