And now, the NHS’s FAQ page for Ramadan.
Is fasting harmful when a woman is expecting a baby? Must pregnant women fast?
There’s medical evidence to show that fasting in pregnancy is not a good idea. If a pregnant woman feels strong and healthy enough to fast, especially during the early part of the pregnancy, she may do so.
Wtf? It’s not a good idea, but she may do so if she’s strong? Why would they say that?! That’s not medical advice – it’s contrary to medical advice. But it gets worse.
If she doesn’t feel well enough to fast, Islamic law gives her clear permission not to fast, and to make up the missed fasts later. If she is unable to do this, she must perform fidyah (a method of compensation for a missed act of worship).
That’s not medical advice at all. That’s a goddy thing, and it has nothing to do with the NHS. As far as the NHS is concerned it’s not remotely true that “she must perform fidyah.”
From what age can children fast safely?
Children are required to fast upon reaching puberty. It isn’t harmful. Fasting before this age is tolerated differently depending on the attitude of the parents and the child’s general health and nutrition.
Fasting for children under the age of seven or eight isn’t advisable. It’s a good idea to make children aware of what fasting involves and to practise fasting for a few hours at a time.
Irresponsible; bad. Giving parents permission (which is not the NHS’s to give) to force their children to do an unhealthy thing because of religious commands. That is not the job of the NHS.
And then a real shocker.
Can I use an asthma inhaler during Ramadan?
Muslim experts have differing opinions on this issue. Some say that using an asthma inhaler isn’t the same as eating or drinking, and is therefore permitted during fasting. In their view, people with asthma can fast and use their inhalers whenever they need to.
However, other scholars say that the inhaler provides small amounts of liquid medicine to the lungs, so it breaks the fast. They say that people with poor control of their asthma must not fast until good control is achieved. Some people with asthma may opt for longer-acting inhalers so that they can fast. See your GP for further advice.
Oh good god. I find that hard to believe.
There’s plenty more garbage – this is written absolutely from the point of view of taking the supposed rules of Ramadan as completely binding and beyond question.
Can I swim during fasting?
Yes, but do not drink the water. A bath or shower, or swimming, has no effect on the fast. However, no water should be swallowed during any of these activities as that would break the fast.
See what I mean?
Does a breastfeeding woman have to fast?
No. Islamic law says a breastfeeding mother does not have to fast. Missed fasts must be compensated for by fasting at a later date, or fidyah, once breastfeeding has stopped.
Can a Muslim patient take tablets, have injections or use patches while fasting?
Taking tablets breaks the fast. However, injections, patches, eardrops and eyedrops do not break the fast as they are not considered to be food and drink (though there are differences of opinion among Muslim scholars on these issues). Islamic law says sick people should not fast.
Could dehydration become so bad that you have to break the fast?
Yes. You could become very dehydrated if you do not drink enough water before the fast. Poor hydration can be made worse by weather conditions, and even everyday activities such as walking to work or housework.
If you produce very little or no urine, feel disoriented and confused, or faint due to dehydration, you must stop fasting and have a drink of water or other fluid. Islam doesn’t require you to harm yourself in fulfilling the fast. If a fast is broken, it will need to be compensated for by fasting at a later date.
No it won’t “need” to be compensated for by fasting at a later date. That’s a religious “requirement” and it’s nothing to do with the NHS.
What a chaotic mess.