By Ishola Balogun
Fasting, basically serves three major purposes: to feel the pangs of hunger in order to have sympathy for the poor and needy; to curb the human frailty and develop utter dependence on Allah; and, above all, to reduce worldly distractions and focus more on closeness to Allah.
However, there are those who are exempted from fasting. Allah has only enjoined fasting upon those who are able to observe it. He does not intend sufferings for His servants. Those who are exempted are the sick, the traveller, the pregnant and nursing mother, the aged and the insane.
Allah says: “And whoever is ill or on a journey— then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Q2:185)
The verse is so apt. It permits the sick person, who fears that fasting may aggravate his condition, make it worse or slow down his recovery or cause more damage to his body, not to fast. In fact, it is sunnah for him to fast, because that may lead to his death. So, he has to be cautious and protect himself. This is because, abstinence from food and drink for long hours cause dehydration.
Therefore, the blood sugar level drops. The heart slows and blood pressure is reduced. Glycogen is pulled from the muscle causing some weakness. This may be dangerous for any sick person especially those who are diabetic, or those with low sugar level. Just as the Quran harps on this, it is also in tandem with the general medical advice. You cannot impress Allah, if your state of health cannot go without food or drink, then leave it out. Allah who created us knows everything about us. He intends no hardship on us.
Again, it should be noted that those who are unable to fast fall into two categories: those who are temporarily unable to fast and those who are permanently unable to do so.
Those who are temporarily unable to fast are those who have the hope that what is preventing them from fasting will cease, and they will be able to fast at a later date. This is what is mentioned in the verse above. So the one who is temporarily unable to fast should wait until the illness that is preventing him from fasting heals, then he should make up the fast.
Anyone with chronic illness or who is permanently sick and are unable to fast, and there is no hope that his condition may improve to be able to fast, such Muslim has been permitted not to fast in Ramadan and will not fast at a later date but he will have to feed the poor to compensate for the missed fast. He will have to feed one poor person for each day that he does not fast.
Ramadan timing for today
City Fajr Iftar/Maghrib
Abuja 4:47am 6:50pm Ibadan 5:07am 7:02pm Ilesha 5:03am 7:05pm Ilorin 5:00am 7:00pm Kano 4:36am 6:51pm Lagos 5:10am 7:03pm Asaba 4:56am 6:47pm Zaria 4:42am 6:52pm
Maiduguri 4:18 6:33pm
Jalingo 4:32am 6:35pm
Please note that at Farj time, sahuur ends and Magrib time, Iftar, begins.