Fatwa ID: 04009
Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Are Doctors and Nurses who are Treating COVID 19 Patients Required to Fast?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
There is no doubt doctors and nurses when treating COVID-19 patients will find it extremely difficult to fast with their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on. The equipment will lead to dehydration and the long hours will lead to fatigue.
The answer regarding whether doctors and nurses should fast or not will be looked at in the following ways:
1. The legal maxim "Harm should be repelled before it occurs however much is possible" (Qawaid Fiqhiyah p.31) is explaining that we should try to repel or make such arrangements before the inevitable will happen. In the current situation, if possible that is, the doctors and nurses should work during the nights and not during the day so they can continue to fast or another option could be to take the annual leave or any statutory holidays which are remaining. In that way, we can continue to fast and not abandon the fasting in the virtuous month of Ramadhan.
The Prophet Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said " “Whoever breaks the fast on one day in Ramadhan, with no concession and no sickness, fasting an entire lifetime will not make up for it, even if he fasts it” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
2. Due to the severity of the current crisis, it will be highly unlikely that you will be able to work only nights and not during days or take any time off work. In that case, you would be allowed to postpone the fasts to a later date based on the following two legal principles:
1." Difficulty brings about ease" (Qawaid Fiqhiyah p.40)
2. "When the matter is restricted, flexibility will come." (Qawaid Fiqhiyah p.42)
The aforementioned ruling is only for those doctors and nurses during the period of fasting and working on the front line with the PPE on. The above concession would not be allowed for those doctors and nurses who are not working due to self-isolation or who are not wearing the PPE.
Patients with mild symptoms of COVID 19 are required to fast. However, if there is a danger of the symptoms worsening, then they will also be allowed to postpone their fasts to a later date. (Bahrur Raaiq p.398 v.2)
Only Allah knows best
Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham