As the holy month of the Islamic Lunar calendar is approaching, the Muslim population is in jeopardy if they should fast in the month of Ramadhan or not.
The preventive measures of social distancing and isolation against coronavirus have already altered the religious Islamic practices globally. With Ramadhan just around the corner, Muslims seek guidance on whether they should fast or not in the view of health risks.
Islamic fasting calls to avoid eating and drinking from dawn to dusk hence, Muslims fear it may cause them dehydration and weaken the immune system which can increase the chances of them contracting coronavirus.
Al Azhar Al-Sharif, the Muslim world’s top Sunni Islamic institution issued a statement that Muslims are required to fast this year, & fasting has nothing to do with the possibility of an increased risk of catching coronavirus https://t.co/45dUPGFQBH
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Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep the respiratory tract moist is among the several precautions health experts have given to lower the risk of catching coronavirus.
The Muslim scholars around the world have decided on the matter whether Muslims should skip fasting in fear of catching coronavirus on scientific and religious observations.
While health experts may have asserted the use of more fluids in daily routine, however, there exists no evidence to back the assertions that more fluid intake reduces the risk of catching coronavirus.
Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University has confirmed that drinking more water will not keep anyone from catching the disease.
“We always caution anyone healthy and people who are sick to keep up the fluid intake and keep mucus membranes moist. It makes one feel better, but there is no clear indication that it directly protects against complications,” Dr Schaffner confirmed.
Also, multiple scientific pieces of research have proven the health benefits of fasting.
Al-Azhar Al-Sharif statement
The institution of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, the Muslim world’s top Sunni Islamic institution has stated the matter.
The statement says fasting has nothing to do with the possibility of an increased risk of catching coronavirus.
“Not fasting during Ramadan is not permissible due to coronavirus, and fasting is a duty and a must for Muslims,” Al Azhar said in a statement.
Their decision is based on the response received from the World Health Organization that drinking and gargling with water do not protect a person from catching the coronavirus.
“We have asked WHO if drinking water or gargling with water would protect people from being infected with the coronavirus. The answer was: Although water is important for the moisture of the human body, it does not protect against the virus and has not been proven that gargling with water can protect anyone from catching the virus,” read the statement further.
How will Ramadan and Eid be different this year?https://t.co/Nm9MgUn9mP
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Meanwhile, other Islamic scholars have agreed that it is not permissible for Muslims to skip fasting in fear of catching coronavirus. A Muslim can only skip fast only on the condition of a health problem and it is feared to worsen by fasting.