Fasting is an integral part of religious life, discipline and an experience of every faith. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. For Muslims, Ramadan is a very spiritual month; it is a month of special blessings, love and care for others. During this month, Muslims around the globe will be fasting and showing extra kindness to those who are less fortunate. As well as becoming more God-conscious, which results in suppressing the desires for food, drink and sexual activity, staying hungry will build empathy for those less fortunate who go days without food. This empathy will motivate the fasting person to take extra steps in looking after loved ones by supporting them in times of need.
Students on placements from the Faculty of Health & Wellbeing are fortunate to be awarded these kinds of opportunities in the month of Ramadan. Their passion to care for others will increase due to their fasting, which will benefit society to become more sympathetic and caring towards the weak.
Although students often have no previous healthcare experience and placement is a challenging time, many Muslim students and staff will see fasting as an obligation, not a choice. They must comply with the various codes of practice regarding health and patient safety as well as adhere to the prescribed religious observances.
We understand that if students are fasting and working long hours, it may have an impact on health and safety regulations. We want to make sure that we can be supportive of our students who fast, but also want to ensure their safety and the safety of the patients in their care.
Therefore, the University of Central Lancashire has agreed to the following guidelines for Muslim students who are observing the fasts during their placements.
The following are frequently asked questions by Muslim patients who are fasting:
Question: If blood is drawn from the body, does this break the fast?
Answer: Drawing blood does not invalidate the fast.
Question: Can one receive a Flu Jab whilst Fasting?
Answer: Yes, it is permissible. It will not invalidate the fast.
Question: Is it permissible to have an injection while fasting and will it nullify the fast?
Answer: Yes, it is permissible to take an injection during fasting. This will not nullify the fast. However, there is a difference of opinion on nutritional injections.
Question: While fasting, I went for a CT scan. I was informed that I would not have to take anything orally for this procedure. However, I was given some medicine through IV. Did this invalidate my fast?
Answer: No, the fast is still valid.
Question: I am a midwife and see many Muslim patients who, during their pregnancy in the month of Ramadan, are fasting despite being advised not to. Is there any Islamic advice I can use to convince these patients?
Answer: If fasting does not have any adverse medical effects on the patient and the unborn child, then one should allow the patient to fast along with explaining the safest way of doing so. However, if fasting does have adverse medical effects on either, then the patient should be discouraged from fasting highlighting points from a medical perspective. Generally, religious leaders say pregnant women should avoid fasting in the long summer days as it may put the health of their unborn child at risk.
More information on what nullifies the fast and what does not
Question: Who is exempt from fasting in the month of Ramadan?
Answer: The following are exempt from fasting:
Please note that some of the people listed above will be required to make up for their fasts on other days when they regain their full health. Please consult the Imaams/chaplains at the University if they fall in this category.
Students and staff are welcome to contact any of the Imaams/chaplains should they require further information or support in Ramadhan:
Imam Vasiyyullah Bhayat
Imam Uzair Hansrot
Supporting Muslim Chaplain
Guidance prepared in consultation with Muslim students and staff of UCLan and with the help of Higher Education Muslim Chaplains of the North West.
To download a copy of this information please click here.