Barts Health NHS Trust has joined forces with local Muslim religious leaders to encourage residents to have a healthy and safe Ramadan.
This year, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar starts on or around 15 May 2018 and lasts until around 14 June 2018. Adults are required to fast from dawn to sunset, but those in poor health or who have deteriorating health, the very elderly and mothers who are breastfeeding are exempt from doing so.
Residents who suffer from any chronic illness or health complication are advised to speak to their GP to see if they can safely fast during Ramadan. If fasting is not recommended by the GP, residents should speak to their local Imam.
Imam Faruq Siddiqi, Muslim Chaplain at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Ramadan is a very important spiritual month for Muslims and fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam that is practiced during the month. Although everyone will want to fast, patients who suffer from any chronic illness or health complication should consult their health professional prior to fasting, to see if they can do so safely during Ramadan.
“Remember that Islam enables you to avoid fasting if your health is likely to deteriorate and it will be un-Islamic to make your health worse due to fasting.”
Professor Tahseen Chowdhury, Consultant Diabetologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Many people in the area hope to fast during the month of Ramadan. It is important, however, that if you have significant health problems such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney problems, you consult with your GP, nurse or consultant and seek advice on whether or not it is safe to fast. Many health conditions can be seriously affected by fasting.”
On 9 May, Professor Tahseen Chowdhury and Imam Faruq Siddiqi spoke at an awareness event hosted by Barts Health, as part of the Trust’s aim to encourage people to fast safely. Educational sessions are providing people with support and advice, including how to change medication times to match the fasting hours. In addition, Muslim chaplains have been providing educational sessions to help staff to give appropriate advice to patients.