Ramadan 2024 in UAE: 6 cases in which Muslims are exempted from fasting

Islam has set in place clear provisions, offering flexibility to people undergoing certain situations


Laraib Anwer

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Published: Tue 27 Feb 2024, 3:36 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Feb 2024, 10:00 PM

Residents in the UAE this year will observe fasts starting from approximately 13 hours and 45 minutes, increasing to about 14 hours and 25 minutes by the end of the holy month.

With religious practices and customs, there are many misconceptions that surround fasting, especially concerning people who are required to fast and who are not.

Islam has set in place clear provisions, offering flexibility to people undergoing certain situations. Here are the 6 types of individuals who are exempt from fasting during Ramadan.

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Who is exempted?

1. Physical illness

Individuals who may have some form of temporary illness are exempted from fasting for the duration of their illness. Once they have recovered, they must keep the remaining fasts during the holy month. Additionally, once Ramadan has passed, they have time until the next Ramadan (11 months) to substitute for their missed fasts.

Speaking with Khaleej Times, Mufti Shah Jahan from Dubai Awqaf further clarified that people who feel fatigued or tired while fasting, but are aware that continuing with the fast won't be detrimental to their health and just lead to more tiredness are not permitted to break their fast. "Only in situations where it may become life-threatening or an obstacle in one's every day duties, it is permissible to not fast."

On the other hand, those who suffer from a terminal illness, due to which they cannot abstain from eating and drinking, are exempted from fasting. They are not expected to make up for missed fasts later either. Instead, they are required to give 'fidyah' — a financial or in-kind donation towards feeding the needy, amounting to each day they missed a fast.

2. Mental illness, old age

Individuals suffering from mental illness' that affect their cognitive functioning are exempt from fasting during Ramadan. Quoting the Prophet's sayings, Mufti Shah Jahan explained how those suffering a mental illness or any condition that causes cognitive impairment are exempted. "This can also happen to people in their old age due to which they are exempted from fasting. Elderly people who are frail in health can abstain from fasting and have to give 'fidyah' to compensate."

3. Travellers

Travellers are exempt from fasting under certain conditions, such as if:

  • Travellers who don't plan on staying in the destination and are in a constant state of travel are exempted from fasting
  • Travellers who are not travelling for any sinful purpose or for the sake of simply missing their fast

Travellers must later make up by fasting for the number of days missed.

4. Menstruating, pregnant women

Menstruating women are exempted from fasting. They are required to compensate for these days by fasting the missed number of days later on. The same rule applies to women who have post-natal bleeding after pregnancy.

When it comes to pregnant and breastfeeding women, Mufti Shah Jahan clarified that these women are not obliged to fast. "If a pregnant women fears she will fall ill or fasting will affect the health of her child, then she is exempted from fasting."

Breastfeeding mothers fall under the same category. "If she fears that lack of food and water is affecting her milk or harming her or her child's life in any way, then she is exempted from fasting," said the Mufti.

Additionally, if the fasting is becoming a hindrance for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers from performing their duties, then they are allowed to refrain from fasting. These women can make up later by fasting for the days missed or feed the needy for the number of days missed.

5. Coercion

If an individual is forced to break their fast by another person in a life-threatening situation, then they may break their fast. However, they are required to make up for it later.

6. Unbearable thirst, hunger

If a fasting person feels immense hunger and thirst which is unbearable to the point that it may become life-threatening, it is permissible to break the fast. However, they must compensate for it later.


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