بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
As I begin to write this post, to say that I feel overwhelmed with gratitude to Allah – an intense gratitude that is tinged with incredulous wonder at His benevolence – would perhaps be an understatement. You see, 28 days, ago, I was faced with a challenge – a challenge that seemed so arduous and daunting at the time that I seriously doubted whether I was even sane or wise for attempting to take it on.
The thing regarding pregnancy is that it is different for every woman. Some women have very easy pregnancies, so much so that they rave about how they “were born to be pregnant”, or how much they “enjoy being pregnant”. For others, the family way is a very tough experience that leaves them unnerved and shaken; making them downright scared of going through it again.
However, the one common factor I have witnessed among all the Muslim women with whom I have interacted – both older ones, those my age, and younger ones – is that the idea of fasting the 29-30 fasts of Ramadan whilst pregnant elicits responses of jaw-dropping shock, disbelief and horror, to put it mildly.
I got my first glimpse of this reaction when I started expecting my first baby back in 2004, and was in my third month of pregnancy when Ramadan rolled around in October-November. I remember how aghast any woman would be when she’d find out that I had plans to fast during Ramadan, especially since I was vomiting a lot and experiencing the other typical pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and dehydration.
When I started to find out what Islam says about a woman fasting whilst pregnant, I came up with no “نص” – clear-cut, authentic, Islamic scriptural text – prohibiting or even warning a woman against fasting, except this hadith:
It says that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Allah has relieved the traveller of half of the prayer and of the duty to fast, and He has relieved pregnant and nursing mothers.”
[Narrated by Abu Dawud, 2408; al-Tirmidhi, 715; al-Nasa’i, 2315; and Ibn Majah, 1667]
Further, when I consulted my own obstetrician-gynaeocolgist and searched online medical advice given by qualified healthcare professionals, none advocated Ramadan fasting as a potential “threat” or “risk” to a pregnant woman’s health or to that of the baby in her womb.
I was left bewildered then, about the fact that almost all the women I interacted with warned me against fasting nonstop during Ramadan whilst pregnant. I can understand that their primary reason for doing so was concern, but nevertheless, I wondered that when Allah has not classified or even hinted Ramadan fasting as detrimental to the health of an adult Muslim (I challenge you to tell me of even one Muslim who died or fell ill solely due to fasting in Ramadan!?), then who are we to claim with so much confidence that it is best to “avoid” fasting during pregnancy?
Let’s consult the scripture
Let’s see what the Quran has to say about fasting during Ramadan.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“O you who have believed! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of Allah.”
أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ وَأَن تَصُومُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that you fast, if you all only knew.”
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُواْ الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ اللّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful.”
The word in the Quran that Allah has used to allow a Muslim to temporarily forego Ramadan fasts and make them up later, is “مَرِيضًا”. The same facilitation or “رخصة” is given to the Muslim who is traveling or “عَلَى سَفَرٍ”.
So I suppose that, on the same token, a pregnant woman is advised to take care and see whether her fasting during Ramadan adversely affects her health or not i.e. does it classify her as “مَرِيضًا”?
The answer to this question will vary from woman to woman, because according to the verse of the Quran above, the rule or condition that would make it permissible for a pregnant Muslim woman to forego fasting during Ramadan and make them up later, would be that her condition classifies her as مَرِيضًا – ill, diseased, distempered, disordered or sick.
Pregnancy per se is not an illness; it is a special physical condition in which a woman carries a burgeoning life inside her. In this condition, she might experience symptoms of illness, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and of course, in the latter months, increased levels of fatigue and hunger that necessitate frequent meals.
For the official fatawa by qualified scholars about fasting during pregnancy, please click here and here. To quote the relevant parts:
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was also asked in Fatawa al-Siyam (p. 162) about a pregnant women who fears for herself or her child, and does not fast – what is the ruling?
He replied by saying:
“Our answer to this is that one of two scenarios must apply in the case of a pregnant woman.
The first is if she is healthy and strong, and does not find fasting difficult, and it does not affect her foetus. In this case the woman is obliged to fast, because she has no excuse not to do so.
The second is where the pregnant woman is not able to fast, either because the pregnancy is advanced or because she is physically weak, or for some other reason. In this case she should not fast, especially if her foetus is likely to be harmed, in which case it may be obligatory for her not to fast. If she does not fast, then like others who do not fast for a valid reason, she has to make up the days when that excuse no longer applies. When she gives birth, she has to make up those fasts after she becomes pure from nifas.
But sometimes the excuse of pregnancy may be lifted but then immediately followed by another excuse, namely breastfeeding. The breastfeeding mother may need food and drink, especially during the long summer days when it is very hot. So she may need not to fast so that she can nourish her child with her milk.
In this case we also say to her: Do not fast, and when this excuse no longer applies, then you should make up the fasts that you have missed.
Shaykh Ibn Baz said in Majmoo’ al-Fatawa (15/224): “With regard to pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, it is proven in the hadith of Anas ibn Malik al-Ka’bi, narrated by Ahmad and the authors of al-Sunan with a sahih chain, that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) granted them a dispensation allowing them not to fast, and he regarded them as being like travelers. From this it is known that they may not fast but they have to make up the fasts later, just like travelers.
The scholars stated that they are only allowed not to fast if fasting is too difficult for them, as in the case of one who is sick, or if they fear for their children.
And Allah knows best.
It says in Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Da’imah (10/226): “The pregnant woman is obliged to fast during her pregnancy, unless she fears that fasting may affect her or her foetus, in which case she is allowed not to fast, and she should make up the fasts after she gives birth and becomes pure from nifas.”
[End quote IslamQA.com, Question No. 50005]
They asked me, “Why are you fasting in pregnancy?”. I asked them, “Why ever NOT?”
Yes, why should I not fast whilst pregnant?
The first time when I fasted Ramadan during pregnancy, I was hardly eating or drinking anything much already because of acute nausea and vomiting. I’d spend most of the day lying down anyway, so it made more sense to me to spend the days in this manner in the state of fasting my obligatory fasts rather than by missing them on the presumption that I won’t be able to fast.
Here is what my obstetricians said about this, when I consulted them about fasting during pregnancy. Please note that both are believing Muslim women, and are very well-known names in Karachi’s maternity scene.
The first one was consulted back in 2004 when it was my first trimester. Here is what she said:
Me: “Will my fasting during Ramadan harm the baby?”
Ob-Gyn (with a firm shake of the head): “No.”
Here is what my current obstetrician said, when I informed her that I intended to fast during Ramadan again this year, when I was in the latter part of my second trimester:
(Nodding) “If Ramadan fasting were harmful for a pregnant woman or her unborn child, it would have been made outright forbidden in Islam, but it wasn’t.
This means that whether a woman should fast or not depends on each individual case. In your case, you will have to be careful about 2 things if you fast: that you continue to feel the same level of fetal movement every day throughout the month, and that you ensure that your liquid/fluid requirement is fulfilled during the night. This is to ensure that the amniotic fluid requirement remains fulfilled.
In case you feel that the baby’s movements are not as many as they were before Ramadan, or you start to feel faint, you will need to stop fasting for the sake of the baby.”
I took her advice very seriously and alhamdulillah, by the Grace of Allah, I have been able to fast throughout this month without missing a single day – مَا شَاءَ اللهُ لا قوَّةَ اِلّا بِاللهِ.
I even asked her the exact amount of water in liters that I had to drink every night, and bought a vacuum flask with the right designated volume/capacity to help me drink that exact amount!
Not to mention, I begged Allah to grant me the blessings of late night prayer – qiyaam al-layl – before sehri/suhoor every night, and He guided me to wake up for it throughout the month as well.
I deliberately forewent praying taraweeh in congregation, because I knew that going out every night would tire me out and put an extra strain on me.
What else helped
You have to tie the camel first, then trust in Allah, right?
I took my family into my plans.
Since I homeschool my two children, I knew that having them around all day might test my patience more during the 30 long, hot summer fasts. Hence, I gave them a full tutorial about what Ramadan this year would entail (“I’ll be more hungry and tired, so I might shout quickly at you if you misbehave!”), so I requested them to be more patient with me for the whole month.
I also informed them that there would be no entertainment excursions, no outings, and no social calls at other people’s homes (yes, I have not been to anyone’s home throughout Ramadan! Not even my parents’). I informed them that they would probably see me lying down more, because Baba and I would not be eating anything from dawn to dusk. They were thrilled about the fact that their Baba would be coming home earlier in the afternoons.
Also, alhamdulillah, Allah granted me my benign husband’s complete support. I made a deal with him: I would be wholly responsible for preparing the suhoor meal, but might be too drained and tired at iftar time to prepare a meal then, especially the deep-fried kind. He wholeheartedly supported me and took the evening meal preparation/purchase upon himself.
Setting our priorities
As the regular readers of this blog probably know by now, my husband and I don’t do the whole over-rated, home-cooked food bit viz. the wife slogging at the stove every day just to put a 100% home-made meal that she has prepared only with her own laboring hands before her husband (who waits to be served at the table) and her kids thrice a day.
I do not think, for example, that serving my family readymade, commercially available, frozen paratha’s – not ones I have made myself – puts even the slightest dent on my worth as a wife. 😉
However, just for the record, when people started to assume that I have gone to the other extreme and refuse to cook at all, I had to put up a widget with a Flickr photo feed (you can see it on the right-side panel of this blog) just to provide proof that I can – and do. *Sigh* Can you ever win ’em all?
Anyway, we as a family take many liberties with food and use many alternatives when we need to fill our stomachs. In this particular case i.e. with my being pregnant during Ramadan, we knew that every sacrifice we were making was for the sake of my being able to worship Allah during this blessed month: by fasting, reciting Quran, and praying tahajjud at night – so that the imminent new member of our family would benefit from their mother’s remembrance of and worship of Allah, just like Maryam Bint `Imran did when her mother dedicated her to Allah when she was still inside the womb.
Its all about what a family’s priorities are. In most families, it is a mandatory cultural requirement for a wife to put fresh home-made food on the table for her family; considering this one of the loftiest good deeds that she can do during Ramadan (and it probably is….for them).
For this goal, wives sometimes delay praying obligatory prayers on time (e.g. in order to give the Chicken Biryani just the right amount of ‘dum’) or forego making earnest, lingering dua just before breaking the fast (e.g. to ensure that the spring rolls, samosa’s and pakora’s served at iftar are piping hot and perfectly crisp for their family’s gastronomical pleasure).
Please note that you can get the reward for breaking a fasting person’s fast by even putting a bowl of chopped fresh fruit before them, but the emphasis in our culture is more on how much effort the lady of the house has made in preparing the meal, and of course, in just how perfect it tastes according to our age-old traditions and culinary standards. A wife’s perfect tajweed (Quran recitation skill) holds little court before her dexterity at preparing the perfectly round hot chapati that puffs up like a ball, eh?
Also, anyone who has lived in Karachi for even a few years would vouch for how, come Ramadan, the city’s innumerable vendors and shops literally overflow with a wide array of affordable tasty delights, mouth-watering culinary offerings and economical meal-deals, so much so that the locally available food is one thing that overseas Pakistanis miss the most during Ramadan. More and more magazine articles and websites are popping up to rave about the variety of our city’s food. Enough said.
Life is all about choices, and this is something I refuse to compromise on i.e. letting my so-called kitchen ‘duties’ or homemaking ‘obligations’ adversely affect my or my husband’s rituals of worship.
So yes, to say that my family tried a large variety of edible treats from different shops and vendors this Ramadan would be putting it mildly. Were they complaining, though? No, not at all.
In fact, iftar every day resembled more of an indoor picnic, one that I was usually not a part of, willingly, as I would be lying down till the end of the fast due to tiredness. As it is, I prefer to break my fast on the musallah (prayer rug) in my room, with just a date and a glass of water before praying maghrib, so I avoid the whole festive, party-like, chattery aura while breaking the fast with everyone at the dinner table.
Go ahead, kill me for being the kill-joy. 😛
Was it easy?
Headaches, thirst, fatigue (especially during the last 3 hours of the fast), and the knowledge that I was restricted at home due to the risk of getting dehydrated if I ventured out anywhere, overwhelmed me tremendously at first.
I cried often due to my mood swings during those first days, wondering each day if I would really be able to pull off this holy, blessed month’s challenge of fasting and praying tahajjud late at night. I knew that only Allah’s help could pull me through. The first 7-9 fasts, in which my body was adjusting to the new eating and sleeping routine, were especially difficult. I kept praying to Allah for ease, for making my worship easier and my efforts in His path more blessed.
Alhamdulillah, He answered my dua’s and His help came after the first week of Ramadan. By then, my body and mind had adjusted itself to the new changed routine, and my Quran recitation after Fajr had taken on a steady tempo/momentum. I was all set! لا قوَّةَ اِلّا بِالله!
At this point in time (today we fasted the 28th fast), I am actually feeling sad to see Ramadan go. 😦
So why do it?
Making up missed fasts is not easy
Tell me of one Muslim girl or woman you know directly – just one – who left her Ramadan fasts due to pregnancy or breastfeeding and has made them all up. I would really love to know of someone real like that, because to date all the ladies I know, including the ones who were the most ardent in trying to convince me to forego fasting during pregnancy (especially when I fasted my first Ramadan while pregnant back in 2004), have not yet made up the Ramadan fasts they missed due to each of their children’s pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Making up missed fasts is a matter most Muslim women take lightly. At least that is what I have seen, because somehow Shaitan convinces them that it is just too difficult to do. So, whereas they might have paid the fidyah for the fasts they missed, they assume over time that they are absolved from the burden of having to make up so many missed fasts, especially if the number of fasts they need to make up exceeds one hundred.
Also, they assume that since they had a valid “excuse” to forego fasting (i.e. pregnancy or breastfeeding), they are not required to make up the fasts. I would just like to remind all such Muslim women that they still need to make up their missed fasts – because Allah calls Ramadan fasts “أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ” (counted days), and mentions the days to be made up specifically: “فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ” (“So a count from days besides Ramadan”) and goes on to say “لِتُكْمِلُواْ الْعِدَّةَ” (“So that you complete the count”). Conclusion: you need to make up those missed but countable days of Ramadan in your life, my sister.
Simply put, I fasted to benefit my unborn babies spiritually
The most important reason why I chose to take on the difficult challenge of fasting the 30 days of Ramadan during 2 of my 3 pregnancies, was to garner the innumerable blessings and benefits of this holy month’s increased, more intense, bodily worship for my unborn child.
I think that when a baby is in its mother’s womb, it has an exclusive connection with her that is over at childbirth. If the expectant mother is fasting with her body, reciting more Quran, and praying more intensely with the baby inside her, it is bound to positively impact the baby, insha’Allah– for life.
When a pregnant woman recites the Quran loudly, the baby listens to her voice and can feel the sound waves around itself in the amniotic fluid that envelops its being. Anyone who has swum in a pool and tried to talk underwater to someone else in the pool, would know that sound travels well through water and reaches the hearer with a greater “echo” or impact.
Imagine how much the noor of the Quran would affect the baby, especially if the expectant mother was fasting whilst reciting it!
This method of “bonding” with the unborn baby is now being endorsed by hospitals as doctors encourage mothers to not just talk to their babies from the second trimester onwards, but to also “sing” to them and – *cough* – make them listen to music, because, they say, “The baby’s auditory system is one of the first things to develop and there’s a lot of physiological evidence that singing helps with language development.”
They may choose to engage the fetus with music, we should instead do it with the best “melody” that could ever exist: the word of Allah, the Glorious Quran!
Now that the end is in sight…
Eid Al-Fitr has already been announced in Saudi Arabia as I type the end of this post. This means soon I shall be having suhoor for my last Ramadan fast, insha’Allah.
I feel like the tired mountain climber who just craned his neck upwards and spotted the mountain peak for the very first time. Make any sense?
My feelings are swinging between sorrow at knowing that my worship will now go back to “normal”; that life will resume its craziness, and that the chance Allah gives us sinners every year to return to Him and to sincerely repent will be gone for another eleven months.
However, at the same time, I feel excited about celebrating Eid with my family soon and about seeing everyone again after a whole month! Not to mention, the incredible gratitude towards my Lord that is surging inside me at the knowledge that He granted my dua’s, enabled me to fast all the Ramadan fasts, and made His worship during this holy month easy for me.
May Allah accept all the good deeds that we did during Ramadan, and prevent us from slightly wasting even one of them.
I sincerely wish you a hearty, happy Eid!
تقبل الله منا ومنكم
What can I say about this post? Beautiful? Inspiring? Motivational? Nostalgic (for Ramadan)? Masha’Allah… 🙂 Loved every bit of it… Jazaakillah khayr for sharing this!
Pregnancy is a “physiological” (i.e. quite normal part of life) condition that needs special care but it’s not something that’s an “abnormality” or a disease. For some time now, I’ve been wondering what it’d be like to fast in that state… and your blog just proves it *can* be done, with the right measures and precautions. Alhumdulillah. 🙂
It’s hard to make up missed fasts! This year, I was thinking of somehow taking medicines to make sure I didn’t miss a single fast so I wouldn’t have more to make up later. I didn’t do that, well… even though it’s allowed… but I definitely have to make up my previous ones, Insha’Allah. I liked how you mentioned it’s not as hard as people think it to be… you just have to go ahead and do it. 🙂
And yes… Ramadan is going away. I’ve been feeling so sad all evening… it’s like Ramadan flew away so fast this year, I barely noticed it was here. 😦 😦 It just feels so, so odd… may Allah enable us to witness many, many more Ramadan, ameen.
Jazakllahu khayir for sharing your experience. During my first pregnancy I was too afraid to fast. Mainly because It was my first and I had no idea that I would feel this bad throughout the whole pregnancy (both pysically and often emotionally). Anyway I just chose not to fast. However I felt so good after the birth that I vowed to make up all my fasts as soon as I could, which I did alhamdullilah!
I am going to try inshaAllah with my next pregnancy to fast because like you said It is hard but it is very much worth it.
I am very happy to see that you are expecting. MashaAllah!!!! May Allah (swt) make the rest of your pregnancy easy and the delivery even easier and make your child the coolness of your eyes. Ameen!
I am so happy that you shared with us how you made up your Ramadan fasts so quickly after having your baby. Insha’Allah your real-life experience and example will inspire others who read this post to also do the same i.e. make up their missed Ramadan fasts within a year (i.e. before the next Ramadan).
May Allah reward you for your jihad in His path. Ameen.
Jazakillahu khair Saba.
May Allah SWT bless you and reward you for your efforts in this life and the hereafter Sister! May Allah SWT make your children righteous and prosperous in this live and the hereafter! Ameen
I accidentally found your blog a few months ago and started reading your posts. May Allah make you the source of inspiration for women in Pakistan.
Jazak Allahu khair for leaving me your dua’s.
I never fasted during any of my pregnancies but everyone was against me (opposite of your experience). I didn’t fast during breastfeeding either. I like your attitude towards focusing on worship more than food.
Wa alaikumussalam Aishah,
Alhamdulillah that you were never discouraged from fasting during your pregnancies!
Loved every bit of this post mashaAllah!
May Allah bless your household much and save it from evil eyes. Because mashaAllah, it is a very beautiful one. 🙂
I really appreciate the wise dua, because كُلُّ ذى نِعمةٍ مَحْسُود – “Every possessor of blessing is envied”.
As salam alaikum.MashAllah brilliant post..mabrook jiddan on d new arrival..Eid Saeed..may Allah make ur children and my child beacons of Islam.pls pray for my almost inshAllah 3 month old..Muhammed Sufyan Ahmed that Allah makes him a Daee of Deen ..aameen.
I ask Allah to bless your child with piety and guide him to lofty heights of righteous actions that gain him the pleasure of Allah and success in the Akhirah. Ameen.
jazakillah 🙂 loved it
All your research seems to indicate that fasting is not required of a pregnant woman. When Allah has granted you a gift why do you not use it? To me it seems selfish for a pregnant woman to fast in Ramadan. She can easily make up the fasts after wards (and if she can’t then it points to her own weakness). Why put the unborn baby even to the slightest risk? I don’t understand this type of thinking – especially from women from the East who seem to think Islam means something hard – and the harder the more “pious” it is.
The Prophet himself broke his fast on a hot day when he was travelling – and yet today you will find dozens of travellers going halfway across the world stubbornly keeping their fast. Yes, perhaps it’s better, but are we trying to be more pious than the Prophet?
I couldn’t disagree more. Being a brother, that’s quite a daring statement to make. You have no idea how many sisters struggle hard to make up their missed Ramadan fasts. It is not an “easy” matter at all, especially if they are going through alternating phases of pregnancy and breastfeeding every few years.
Allah knows best.
i kind of get mezba’s point. i also agree that is NO EASY JOB making up 60 fasts…mother of two here (me) can vouch for that.
You just convinced me to take on the challenge when the time comes.. 🙂
Jazakillah loads and loads for that. May the baby (as well as your two other children) be a source of amazing sadaqah-e-jariya for you Ameen!
Ameen, and jazakillahu khair for your gracious dua!
JazakAllahu Khair for the much much needed post. There seems to be a general misconception that if you are pregnant you have to NOT fast.
I have gone through two pregnancies while fasting in ramadan. For my first, I was 5 month pregnant when Ramadan started…Alhamdulilah I fasted the entire month without any difficulty what so ever and even had the energy to go for taraweeh Alhamdulilah, despite the fact that I was continuously discouraged to do so.. as it may harm the baby…but Alhamdulilah my baby was 3.6kg when she was born, very healthy and strong. For my second pregnancy, I was almost 7/8 months pregnant and my first child was 1 and half year old. It was a bit tough in the beginning but Alhamduliah I fasted the whole month. My son was 3.4kg and healthy. So, it possible to fast, how evr everyone needs to see for themselves how they feel when fasting. Just remember to take vitamins,calcium and vit D supplements and a glass of milk and eat a hearty sehri..InshaAllah Allah will make it easy.
May Allah reward you for your jihad, Javeria.
I am so garetful to you for enlightening us by sharing your own personal experiences here. Insha’Allah, they will inspire other ladies to also give Ramadan fasting their best shot during pregnancy. This is exactly what I was hoping for by writing this post, that other Muslim women would come forth and tell others how they successfully fasted in Ramadan during pregnancy without it adversely affecting them or their baby.
May Allah guide you to even higher levels of action. Ameen.
Correct me if I wrong, but doesn’t heavy vomiting automatically annul the fast? Just wondering…great post btw.
Please refer to fatawa about this issue by scholars by clicking here and here.
Only intentional vomiting invalidates a fast.
Allah knows best.
First and foremost Felicidades!!! (Congratulations) MashaAllah a baby on the way!
Second I loved every bit of this post, seriously all of it! May Allah Make it easy on you and all the pregnant women ameen
Inspiring Alhamdullilah! May Allah S.W.T Bless you for your Taqwa Mashallah.
However I would like to add here, taking Allah S.W.T’s given ‘ruksats’ is also ‘Ebadah’ Alhamdullilah.
I hope this encourages others to not to shirk away from something that is actually beneficial. May Allah bestow upon us the strength to carry out what he has decreed for us … Aameen!
I hope that your child grows up to be an excellent Muslim inshaAllah.
i TOTTALLY AGREE with u on the bit about not putting food and food preparation before worship. and worrying about inviting hordes or rich guests over and wasting precious minutes of Ramadan. What about feeding the POOR and PUTTING YOUR TIME TOWARDS WORSHIP.
but we can say that and its just words. we HAVe to look at how the Prophet saw and sahabah spent their time in Ramadan? was it iftari fest every night? far from it!
Your concern for the spirituality of the unborn is commendable, ma sha Allah. May your efforts for the baby bring fruit here and in the Aakhirah. Ameen. I hope your writeup encourages sisters who can, to fast.
A most helpful book on fasting I read is titled “FASTING IN RAMADAAN as observed by the Prophet (saw)” by Sh Saleem al-Hilaalee and Sh Alee Hasan Alee Abdul-Hameed. The strength of the book is its painstaking compilation of authentic ahaadeeth.
In the chapter titled RECOMPENSE (al-fidyah), the authors explain in detail why the pregnant or breast-feeding women (who leave fasting out of fear for themselves or the child) should give fidyah, and not make up the fasts. It would be best to read this book, and this chapter, in particular. I cannot summarize it here, nor would I like to pit scholar against scholar, or fatwa against fatwa.
Alhamdulillah, the book made the issue very clear to me. I’d only quote a few narrations here from the book:
from Ibn Umar, (declared saheeh): ‘The pregnant woman and the breast-feeding woman should break the fast and not make up the days.’
from Ibn Abbaas: ‘It remains for the old man and the old woman who cannot fast and for the pregnant and breastfeeding women if they fear- they should refrain from fasting and instead feed a poor person for each day.’ None of the Companions disagreed with Ibn Abbaas.
Also from Ibn Abbaas that he saw a slave-girl of his, pregnant or breast-feeding, so he said: ‘You are one of those who are unable, upon you is recompense and there is no atonement (qadaa) due upon you.”
It is desirable for the Muslims to be uncompromising in matters where the Deen is uncompromising, and to have gentleness and flexibility where the Deen has given concession. And the Deen has given concession to pregnant and breastfeeding women, via Rasulullah (Saw) himself: (hadith narrated by Anas)”…..indeed, Allah, the Blessed and Most High, remitted half the prayer from the traveller, and fasting for the pregnant and breast-feeding.’.
I know for a fact that some women donot have the physical strenght to go without food and water all day during pregnancy and nursing. And if such sisters happen to have a number of kids, they will have 3 years of missed fasting for each baby. And one can then understand the hikmah of fidyah for them, instead of qadaa/ atonement.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
Jazakillahu khair for your input.
No doubt there is scholarly consensus that for a pregnant woman who fears for her child, it is haram to fast during Ramadan. For this, each pregnant woman should consult her doctor/ob-gyn in detail regarding her unique condition before deciding if she should fast during Ramadan or not.
This post is addressing those Muslim sisters, however, who can fast during Ramadan whilst pregnant, just as I did and a sister who has also commented under this post above as “Admin”, did, during 2 pregnancies – by Allah’s help and will – by enduring a little extra difficulty and hunger but without any harm to our unborn babies, alhamdulillah.
I can understand the point of view of those who insist that we should compromise on Deen where we are allowed to compromise, and to take the “rukhsats” offered to us, but the point of the matter is – is there a rukhsat/compromise for the healthy, strong pregnant woman who can fast during Ramadan, and whose ob-gyn tells her that there is nothing stopping her from fasting if she wants to?
Shouldn’t healthy, strong young women at least try fasting during Ramadan first, before assuming that they are among those who are exempt, especially if their ob-gyn gives them the go-ahead?
This is a very serious issue, because we are talking about obligatory worship here.
As for the issue of fidyah. The command of giving fidyah in compensation for missing a fast of Ramadan and not making any qadaa was revealed at first, when Ramadan fasting initially became obligatory for Muslims. That command was eventually abrogated, and now only qadaa is present, for those Muslims who need to forego any Ramadan fast due to a temporary inability to fast, such as an illness, traveling, or pregnancy/breastfeeding.
Fidyah remains as the command for atonement for Ramadan fasting for all those Muslims, however, who can permanently not fast during Ramadan, such as the elderly, perpetually weak, or chronically sick Muslims. They are obliged to give fidyah only and not make up the fasts (qadaa). Ibn Abbas (رَضِىَ اللهُ عَنْهُ) included, as you have said, in this latter category, those pregnant or breastfeeding mothers who feared harm for themselves or for their unborn fetuses by fasting in Ramadan. For them, too, fidyah is prescribed and no qadaa is required.
Whether a Muslim woman who foregoes her Ramadan fasts because she fears for her child has to make qadaa or only give fidyah, or both, is for the scholars to decide and not me.
There are 2 opinions about this issue, with the stronger one being that she has to make up the fasts she misses due to pregnancy and breastfeeding later on in life.
I know many post-menopausal women (mostly through Al-Huda) who fast many nafl fasts zealously in their forties, fifties and sixties (such as the 6 fasts of Shawwal, 10 of Dhul Hijjah, and 3 fasts every month of the Ayaam Al-Beed [monthly lunar dates 13,14,and 15]). I think it is not just possible but quite easy to gradually make up the 29-30 fasts of one Ramadan in one year. All that woman has to do is: fast only 3 days every month of the year!
So if she has 10 Ramadans to make up that she missed due to her pregnancies and breastfeeding, she can make them all up in just 10 years or less by fasting ONLY 3 fasts every month, especially after she goes through menopause and her monthly cycle is no longer there to hinder her fasting schedule.
What I would love to see – and which was my main motivation behind writing this post – is a change in attitude of young, strong, and healthy Muslim women when it comes to fasting during Ramadan whilst pregnant or breastfeeding. In my opinion, they should:
1. Consult their ob-gyn about it, especially if everything in their pregnancy is going smoothly and it is not high-risk.
2. Try fasting first, before assuming they are exempt from it and giving up without trying, especially if the pregnancy is in its early stages (before or up to the second trimester).
3. Delegate the whole unnecessary samosa-pakora-paratha preparation to servants, or better yet, just make do with alternative healthier food options (cereals, fresh fruit, readymade wholewheat pita bread or flatbreads) so that they have to do less in the kitchen, and can therefore make their Ramadan fasting easier for themselves.
It is truly sad when pregnant Muslim woman forego Ramadan fasting without even trying it first, or without consulting their ob-gyn about it, yet do not even consider giving up frying pakora’s at iftar or making paratha’s at suhoor – even if the weather is hot and it is tedious for them to prepare such heavy fried meals.
Why is compromising on cooking unthinkable for us pregnant ladies, but compromising on obligatory worship of Allah is so easy, without even first gaining knowledge to check if we really do come under the category of those pregnant women who “have valid reason to fear for their unborn child and hence are automatically exempt not just from fasting but also from making up the qadaa of those missed fasts”?
I request all Muslim sisters reading this to please fear Allah and not take any chances regarding their obligatory worship. Ramadan fasts are “أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ” – countable days, and if any of us will stand before our Lord on the Day of Qiyamah with a Ramadan count that is not complete, trust me, we better have a good enough reason to act as a proof in our favor that will let us off the hook!
Allah knows best.
The food versus worship comparison really helps make a clear mental picture. When I asked my mother how she made up the fasts she missed when she was pregnant with my brother, she said, “I fasted on 13th, 14th, 15th of the month, or I fasted some days and then took a break of some days.” It’s easy to estimate the fasts one has missed, if one forgets, as it’s a simple calculation of one month’s fasts multiplied by number of years (or number of children/years spent breastfeeding), after all. If you make intention of gradually making up your fasts over the years and die while you still have fasts left, at LEAST you still have that sincere intention as your explanation to Allah. Better than “I just followed what my relatives said”. (By this I DON’T mean that a woman should keep the intention and then be lazy about making up fasts. Surely, Allah can differentiate the sincere intention from the lazy one, and the actual difficulty of finding time from the perceived inability to find time to do it).
Last year Ramadan came while I was pregnant in my third trimester. Alhumdulillah it went great and I didn’t miss a single fast! It wasn’t all that hard at all. This year I was breastfeeding my 9 month old and alhumdulillah I made it through all of Ramadan. Alhumduillah! Fasting while breastfeeding was harder then while pregnant. It was more thirst and more hunger specially during the hot days this year but I wasn’t at risk for anything so I had to fast.
My personal suggestion is that sisters see a doctor before the month starts and tell her all your worries and ask all the questions. Any question that might be bothering you. The doctor might recommend extra supplements to make fasting easier for you.
Jazakillahu khair for leaving a comment about your personal experience!
Alhamdulillah, real examples of Muslim women who have fasted without much difficulty during pregnancy and breastfeeding will insha’Allah inspire sisters to at least give it a shot first, when they are in the same state during Ramadan, instead of giving up without even trying.
I totally second your advice about consulting one’s doctor about it before fasting – that is extremely important.
Jazakillah for writing this; this is a very commonly misunderstood issue. (Speaking of misunderstood, now I finally understand why the seemingly unrelated photos of food are on the blog). I must say, your intentions and plans were very carefully made. Just goes to show that you need to organize yourself and draw your confidence from Allah in order to do anything worthwhile. Alhamdulillah, Allah guided my mother to fast when she was pregnant with me (as she was with her own mother at the time who, being a doctor, confidently told her to fast) and to make up all the fasts she missed while she was pregnant with my brother (my father didn’t allow my mother to fast without my grandmother present). Now that I realize the full significance of what she did, I’m even prouder of my mother and even more thankful to Allah than I was before. I understand the concept of effect of hearing Quran on the unborn baby better than the effect of fasting, though. But I guess it all comes from the baby being in the environment of its mother’s body in the blessed state of a farz fast of Ramadan.
Jazakillah Khair! May Allah be very pleased with you…you just gave me the right amount of motivation for the upcoming Ramadan inshaAllah…
MashAllaah! La Quwata illa billah! 🙂 JazakAllah Khairan! This really touched me! SubhanAllaah! How Kind is AllahSwt with His slaves! Im so glad that AllahSwt made it easy for you and also other sisters who fasted in Ramadan. We just need to make a sincere effort and the Help of AllahSwt comes! Alhamdulillah! May AllahSwt accept everyone’s good deeds and forgive our misdeeds! I cant wait for Ramadan!!! May AllahSwt grant us all good health and strong imaan when entering the blessed month and help us to exit the beautiful month like new born babies (with no sins in our record)!
My question is what about someone like myself who is in the very early beginning stages of pregnancy? Unfortunately I had a miscarriage in February and ALHAMDULILLAH I just found out that I am pregnant again. I feel completely fine, however, due to my previous experience, I am very wary of fasting but I am still doing it, its day 4 of Ramadan 2012. I called my obgyn and they said I should not fast and eat meals throughout the day but they are nonMuslims and I don’t have access to a Muslim doctor. What should I do?
وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
May Allah grant you a righteous, healthy and beautiful child with ease and well-being. Ameen.
I’d suggest you try to go on fasting, asking Allah to make it easy for you. If you can do it, then insha’Allah the blessings of this fasting will transfer to the baby. If you can’t, you can forego fasting but it will be very challenging to make these fasts up because pregnancy is followed by breastfeeding, and we will be having long, hot summer Ramadans for the next few years.
As for your obgyns’ advice, I personally know Muslim ones who have assured pregnant women that fasting causes no harm to the baby AT ALL, especially in early pregnancy, when the fetus’ nutritional requirements are not as high as they are in the last trimester.
Allah knows best.
Assalamu aleikum sister sadaf!
I have been reading over 100 articles whether fasting during Pregnancy is safe? As Im pregnant with my first (Alhamdhulillah, and I want lot more InshaAllah :)).
And Im not going to read anymore, im totally convinced and happy that I dint leave any fast ‘’when people around me were scarring me’’ Jazakallahu kahir from the bottom of my heart. And Alhamdhulillah Allah is great for guiding me in the right path !
Please pray that I should be able to hit the whole month InshaAllah!
Reading your story has made me strong enough to fast myself this year. My family said I should not fast as I’m in 4th month of pregnancy and staying thirsty can cause harm to the baby. Even my doctor advised me not to. But I believe that I can fast. As I write, today is the 3rd Ramazaan. First two days were easy and I did not even feel fatigued. I just hope Allah gives me courage to continue for the rest of the days like this.
Jazakallah khairan for such a lovely post! Alhamdulillah I am pregnant with my 1st baby, 3rd month. As you said, I also received advice not to fast this ramadhan. However, my obgyn said i should take it as it comes. Try and see how it goes. And this too, from a non-muslim doc!
It is the second day of Ramadhan, i fasted yesterday with no difficulties at all. Last night, however, i had a terrible bout of nausea n vomitting until suhoor time. Since it is my second pregnancy this year (had a miscarriage in January)i am very scared and worried. I was already feeling dizzy n weak at suhoor time so I decided not to fast today. I think that I have made a responsible decision for myself and my baby at the time.
I have every intention to fast again tomorrow insha Allah. Reading ur post has given me the courage to take on the rest of the fasts if I can manage them.I think it depends on the circumstance s of each person individually and the advice given from your doc. Allah knows best!
Sharmila, Saba, Naseemah — may Allah enable you to fast with ease and good health, and make this Ramadan fasting a means of extra blessings and righteousness for your unborn babies. Ameen.
My heartfelt dua’s for every sister who reads this blog post and makes the sincere intention and effort to try to fast during her pregnancy.
I have fasted throughout Ramadan twice, without missing a single fast, in the state of pregnancy (لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله), once when it was my 3rd month (at age 26), and then, when it was my 6th month (at age 33). It is very important to stay hydrated i.e. to drink at least 2~3 liters of water between 2 consecutive fasts. May Allah make ease for you.
Please remember that if it becomes too hard, and if your baby becomes at risk of being physically harmed by your fasting, than it will be a sin to continue fasting during pregnancy.
However, the purpose of this blog post is to encourage expectant mothers to at least try to fast, instead of giving up without trying at all, or presuming that Ramadan fasting is harmful for them or for their baby.
And Allah knows best.
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