Staying healthy during Ramadan
The Islamic month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around Tuesday 15 May this year, subject to the sighting of the new moon, and will run for 30 days. You can read more about it in our Ramadan heath factsheet.
Ramadan is one of the most holy months in the Muslim calendar. It is the month when the Qu'ran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad (S) and for Muslims it is a special month of spiritual reflection and revitalization.
During Ramadan, adult Muslims are required to fast so they must refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset.
This year, fasting will commence at around 3.00am on Tuesday 15 May 2018 and will last around 19 hours a day from dawn to dusk. Fasting will end at sunset which will be around 9.25pm. The exact times change as the month progresses. Check the dates for Ramadan timetables and prayers time.
Those in poor health, the very elderly and mothers who are breastfeeding are exempt from the obligation, but some may nonetheless insist on fasting.
Support for Muslim patients
Staff are asked to show their usual consideration and sensitivity towards colleagues and patients who wish to observe the fast. This may mean making certain practical arrangements on the wards, especially with regard to mealtimes and medication. Those fasting need a meal before the break of dawn and another after sunset. Breaking the fast with dates and/or other sweet food and water before a meal is the usual practice.
Staying healthy in Ramadan
Our medical teams and local clinicians in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest are running special Ramadan and diabetes advice sessions to advise local Muslims about the possible risks to health they face during Ramadan and how to fast safely. More advice for people with diabetes on how to stay healthy during Ramadan can also be found on the Diabetes UK website.
If you suffer from any chronic illness you must consult with your GP prior to fasting to find out if you can fast safely during Ramadan given your health condition. If fasting is not recommended by your GP/doctor on a permanent basis, the Islamic ruling is that you should not fast during Ramadan and instead should make a charitable contribution (fidyah).
If you have an acute condition and will recover in due time, then the Islamic ruling is that you make up the fast (after Ramadan in a suitable time) when you are better at a later date. If your health is at risk due to the fast, for example, due to dehydration, pregnancy or injury, you must break your fast as your health is more important. The Islamic ruling is clear on this matter and the fast will need to be made up when you are able to or when your health is better at a later date.
During Ramadan, Muslims are also likely to want to spend more time in prayer, reading the Qu’ran, observing times of quiet and special rituals. For the purpose of prayer, water is required for ritual ablution. Facilities needed for patients include water for cleanliness, individual prayer mats and some quiet recesses, even at their bedsides.
The end of Ramadan expected to be around 15 June 2018 is marked by the celebration of 'Id-ul-Fitr. This is one of the most important occasions in the Muslim religious calendar and begins with a compulsory congregational prayer in a mosque or other suitable place. It is also a great social and family occasion, and some patients and staff may wish to have time away from the hospitals in order to reflect more.
If you need to speak to an Imam for specific advice, please contact our Muslim Chaplaincy Service at on tel 020 3594 2070 (for The Royal London) or tel 020 7363 8053 (for Newham and Whipps Cross).