The purpose of this blog article is to provide general information and advice sourced from the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) for people with lupus following the Islamic faith who would like to take part in the holy month of Ramadan.
Should I fast?
The Quran says that some people do not have to fast, including people with a terminal illness, and older people who are frail or ill.
According to BIMA’s Ramadan Compendium [Feb 2023], given the fact that lupus has a wide variety of clinical manifestations a general verdict cannot be given to all patients; however, people with systemic lupus erythematosus should consider the following recommendations;
- If the disease is severe and the patient is treated with high doses of various medicines, fasting might lead to disease worsening.
- Provided that low fluid intake exacerbates renal problems, fasting is harmful for these patients, especially in summer.
- As long as the patients do not suffer from stress, they can fast on the condition that the disease remains inactive using mild medications (e.g. hydroxychloroquine and low-dose prednisone).
What can I do if I can’t fast?
- giving food or donations to someone less fortunate called ‘Fidya’.
- fasting at another time; when you feel well enough. This includes winter months where days are considered ‘shorter’.
- praying – reciting duas and Quranic verses
Not fasting can bring on emotions of;
- guilt – that you can’t take part in an important practice
- worry – that you will feel less close to your faith
- isolation – if people around you are fasting and you aren’t
- concern – that you are disappointing your friends and family
Please remember you are not alone; you can speak with your Imam for spiritual support at your local Mosque and your doctor for medical advice.
Lupus and Ramadan Webinar
LUPUS UK held a webinar with Professor Anisur Rahman from UCLH about keeping well during Ramadan. The webinar includes a Q&A session where Professor Rahman answers questions sent in from the lupus community.