Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum,
My grandmother is required to take a drug twice a day. One time is around midnight and the other time is around noon. What should she do during Ramadan, when she has to take it during the day? Does she have to fast during Ramadan?
She has to take this drug everyday for the rest of her life, so she can’t make up any fasts later.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
May Allah Most High grant her steadfastness and a tremendous reward for facing the trials in her life with such religious concern.
The general principle is that all sane, adult, resident Muslims of sound health must fast the month of Ramadan unless they have a genuine excuse not to do so. The condition of the validity of such an excuse is that it has been established by (1) an upright, expert Muslim doctor or (2) clear, undeniable signs, or (3) based on past, relevant experience. If the doctor, however, is not Muslim, or he does not know the limits of the Sacred Law, you should make a reasonable judgement, or, ideally, verify the conclusions made with a legal expert (faqih).
Allah Most High says, “Fast for a specific number of days, but if one of you is ill, or on a journey, on other days later. For those who can fast only with extreme difficulty, there is a way to compensate– feed a needy person. But if anyone does good of his own accord, it is better for him, and fasting is better for you, if only you knew.” [2.184]
As such, you should consult her physician and see if there is a way she can move her medicine to outside the fasting hours. Note that you should ask him for his medical opinion, namely, whether it is possible to reschedule and take the medicine before sunrise and after sunset, and not for a legal verdict (fatwa) on whether or not she should fast.
If this is not possible or it is unreasonably difficult, she would ask for the same change in schedule at some other time of year, such as during winter when the fasting hours are short, and fast then instead as makeups (qada’) for the missed Ramadan.
If that too is not possible, and there is nothing that can be done, she would be considered exempt from fasting with a chronic excuse, and would need to make the expiatory payments (fidya) for each missed day of fasting. However, you should confirm this final judgement with Muslim legal experts (fuqaha) before going ahead with it.
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah (2.292/358)]
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani