UAE: Taking Covid jab will not break fast, Grand Mufti says
Fasting boosts immune system
It is safe and permissible to take the Covid vaccine while fasting during Ramadan, an official at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai (IACAD) told Khaleej Times on Thursday.
Dr Mohammed Eyada Alkobaisi, Grand Mufti in the Fatwa Department at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, said scholars agree that the intramuscular and intravenous needles do not invalidate or break one’s fast, as long as they are non-nutritious.
Therefore, taking the Covid-19 jab while fasting is permissible, and will not affect the fast of a Muslim.
“The Fatwa Department at the Islamic Affairs in Dubai issued an official fatwa regarding the Covid-19 vaccine while fasting," he said. "It stated that it is permissible for the fasting person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine and it does not affect the validity of his fast. Because it is administered through the muscle of the hand from where it spreads into the body, and it does not reach the stomach from the mouth. Therefore, it is like all non-nutritious intramuscular and intravenous needles that the fasting person is permitted to take, (and this ruling is) without significant disagreement among scholars.”
However, he added that, if after taking the vaccine, a person experiences some side-effects and needs to take a medicine or break the fast, it is permissible and he can break the fast then and make up for it by fasting another day.
UAE doctors have also reassured residents, who are looking forward to fasting during the Holy Month, that it is absolutely safe to get vaccinated during the course of the fast. In fact, they also encouraged people to fast, as fasting for a limited number of hours can boost one’s immunity.
Dr Sanjay Khator, specialist pulmonologist at Zulekha Hospital in Dubai, said there have been no studies that state that fasting can increase risk of Covid. On the contrary, he said, fasting for a limited number of hours — such as during the Ramadan fast that may go up to 12-15 hours — is highly beneficial to the immune system and can boost one's immunity.
Elaborating, he said: “Fasting can regenerate your entire immune system as it gives rest to your cells so they can regenerate. In fact, fasting is beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy. It can also help the elderly, whose immune systems weaken with age, by giving a boost to their system and helping them fight off even common diseases."
The doctor highlighted that once the fast has ended, one must eat nourishing food and hydrate well. "Fasting is a simple way of giving rest to your stomach and digestive system, thereby giving the cells time to rest, regenerate and work better,” he said.
Dr Khator advised that it is better to take the jab either after suhoor or iftar. “I would advise residents who will be observing Ramadan fasts to take the vaccine either after iftar or after suhoor, so that the stomach is not completely empty.”
Dr Hammad Khan, emergency physician at Prime Hospital, opined that fasting is not a contraindication to vaccine. “Vaccine has no relation to food intake. However, having a moderate meal and water intake prior to vaccine is always better. For those who are fasting, make sure to drink plenty fluids during suhoor (early morning meal).
He added: “Ideally, the fasting individual might be hypoglycemic at the end of the day; hence, it would be best to get the jab at the beginning of the day. Vaccine provides immunity. It is not a supplement to reduce thirst or hunger and has been approved by religious scholars.”
Talking about the benefits of fasting, especially during the pandemic, Dr Khan said: “Fasting reduces cholesterol, obesity and risk of heart disease. These can be deadly if combined with Covid-19. Fasting also increases the rate of excretion of toxins out of the body which improves health.”
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