What to do if we are unable to fast during Ramadan

Ramadan dan kesabaran © Paulus Rusyanto | Dreamstime.com

There are various reasons why a person may not be able to fast some, or any, of the days of Ramadan. We must remember that even if we are of those who cannot fast, we should still be striving to take advantage of this blessed month.

If we are not fasting, we should not fall into the same routine that we follow when it is not Ramadan. For example, if we usually watch the television or do others things for leisure, in Ramadan we should be focusing on our worship.

We can use this time to do extra zhikr and make du’aa to Allah. We could add in du’aas for different things we have not yet asked for – however trivial they may seem. For example, we could ask Allah to bless us with a good day in which we are happy, content, and more conscious of Him. Changing our du’aas in this way will also be motivating us to make more du’aa rather than see it as a task or something we are engaging in half-heartedly.

Asking Allah to bless us with a day in which we are happy and content may not initially seem like a big thing to ask for, but it really should not be something that we see as a trivial or small matter, as Allah is the One who has power over all things. We should not take anything for granted or have the mentality that anything in our lives happens automatically – everything happens only by the decree of Allah and with the purpose that He has decided.

When we cannot fast, we could also watch Islamic lectures. This will help us improve our level of Imaan (faith) as well as our knowledge of the deen. It is important to remember, though, that the goal should not be to watch as many lectures as possible. Our focus should be on the lecture as we are listening to it and we should try to reflect on what we have learnt.

Sometimes, pausing throughout the lecture to reflect and make notes helps us to stay engaged and not become demotivated. A good way to start could be to listen to Islamic lectures on topics that interest us, as that will make it easier for us to develop a habit of listening to lectures. As we start with topics that we are interested in, we will be more enthusiastic about continuing to browse through the lectures on the various other topics of Islam.

We should remember to make more effort to give charity in Ramadan. We read in a hadith:

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: “The Prophet (SAW) was the most generous person, and he used to become more so (generous) particularly in the month of Ramadan because Gabriel used to meet him every night of the month of Ramadan till it elapsed. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) used to recite the Qur’an for him. When Gabriel met him, he used to become more generous than the fast wind in doing good.” (Bukhari)

If we are not fasting, we should not despair, lose hope or feel sad about not being able to fast. We must remember that if we cannot fast, this is something already decreed for us by our Lord and as Muslims we must place our trust in Him and remember that He knows what is best for us. We read in the Holy Qur’an:

“Say, “Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.” And upon Allah let the believers rely.” (Qur’an 9:51)