Hidden Blessings: When You Can’t Fast

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Say “Ramadan” to a Muslim and you’re bound to evoke different responses. Some eyes will fill with happy tears when thinking of the solace of long prayers. Others may lick their lips with anticipation of kabobs and samosas. And others still may fill with anxiety about the long days spent without food (and, let’s be honest, coffee!).

No matter your reaction, it’s undeniable that the celebration of Ramadan is forever linked to the act of fasting (sawm). After all, fasting in Ramadan, for those who are able, is a beloved and obligatory act of worship (‘ibada) in Islam.

Mixed Feelings for People Who Can’t Fast

So what if you’re not able to fast? It’s not your fault. Maybe you’re a mom who just gave birth. Or you might have a medical condition that makes it unsafe from you to refrain from food, water, or medication for so long. Perhaps you’re an elderly person that fasting is just too difficult for.

Not being able to fast while friends and family around you are bonding over their thirst and sacrifice can feel isolating.

Also, since your regular day-to-day routine might not change as much, it can leave you feeling a little bummed or less enthusiastic about the holiday spirit. After all, you’re only human.

Have No Fear, Hidden Benefits are Here!

Don’t let what you can’t do this month bring you down. Instead, focus on what you can do. We’re here to help you with a little faith boost.

So here you go, here are three hidden benefits of not being able to fast:

#1. You get to pay fidya

That’s right, it’s not a typo—you get to pay fidya. Not just hafta. Fidya is a set amount that you can pay to make up for the missed obligation of fasting for a valid reason (read more about the nitty gritty and/or pay your fidya here).

It’s a special privilege to pay because it means your act of worship benefits others in need, while the regular act of fasting benefits only the person fasting. So go ahead, smile and feel super special, because you are!

#2. You get to get creative

Allah (SWT) is in control of the heavens and the earth. He knows you can’t fast, and He willed it to be so. But that definitely doesn’t mean He doesn’t want you to draw near to Him this month.

Maybe He just wants you to get creative about how you will connect with Him, and in that creative striving He will be pleased with you. For example, you could donate to a different Launch Good campaign each day. You could commit to eating healthier.

You could start a daily ritual of writing in a gratitude journal, that might become your new favorite part of the day.

#3. Actually…um, you still get to fast.

Wait, what!? Yup, that’s right! You still get to fast. You get to fast from bad words, ill intentions toward others, bad habits, inappropriate actions, and more.

In fact, fasting is only fasting if we’re doing these things anyway…remember? 🙂

The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink” (Al-Bukhari).

This means that to truly fast, we need to commit to the inner dimensions of fasting that involve perfecting our character. Food is only one small part.

So there you have it. There are so many hidden benefits in not being able to fast during Ramadan, far beyond what’s mentioned in this article. You can still improve yourself, draw near to Allah (SWT), and feel the holiday spirit no matter what your condition or situation.

And that’s why Ramadan truly is a mubarak month. Ramadan Mubarak from all of us at Islamic Relief USA!