August 4th, 2013
09:49 AM ET

For some Muslims, Ramadan fasting poses risks

By Slma Shelbayah, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='SlmaShelbayah']

(CNN) This Ramadan, Amina Jabbar faced a difficult decision.

The University of Toronto medical student’s rotation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre began around July 9, the start of the Muslim holy month.

That meant working unpredictable shifts for as long as 26 hours while fasting from eating and drinking during the day.

The fast-paced hospital environment was already challenging Jabbar’s ability to keep up with colleagues and patients. As a new physician, she felt more “error prone” and said fasting would increase her anxiety on the job.

Ramadan requires “slowing down,” Jabbar said, an impossible task for a first-year medical resident whose job requires fast decisions and clear thinking to save lives.

The 29-year-old Muslim was torn.

Should she fulfill her professional duties, eating regular meals so hunger would not distract her from patients’ critical needs? Or should she honor her religious obligations by observing the fast, a practice considered a “pillar” of Islam?

“I am spending 60-80 hours (at the hospital) and I don’t get to slow down for Ramadan,” Jabbar said. “It felt unfair to my colleagues and patients to tell them to slow down for me.”

At the same time, Jabbar said she feared that fellow Muslims would criticize her if she didn’t fast. “There’s a certain amount of shame when we talk about people not fasting,” she said.

The decision not to fast during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, is somewhat taboo in the Muslim community.

READ MORE: The Belief Blog Guide to Ramadan 

In Islam, Ramadan commemorates the time when the angel Gabriel imparted the Quran to the Prophet Mohammed.

Many Muslims throughout the world commemorate the month by fasting, refraining from sex and smoking, and dedicating more time than usual to praying and reading the Quran.

Some exceptions are generally allowed during Ramadan, which ends August 8. Pregnant women, travelers and sick people are not expected to observe the fast, for example.

But for many other Muslims, especially first responders and others with stressful jobs, the choice of whether to fast can cause its own kind of anxiety.

When Jabbar blogged about her decision not to fast, she received a mix of reactions.

One Muslim accused her of looking for an “excuse” to shirk her religious duties. Some questioned her devotion to Islam, asking if she performs other required Islamic rituals such as daily prayers.

“Of course I pray," Jabbar said. "I am just choosing not to fast. We have a lot of pressure to demonstrate to our community that we’re Muslim.”

Imam Khalil Abdur-Rashid, head of the Iqra Mosque in Brooklyn and Muslim Chaplain of Columbia University,  said that observing the fast during Ramadan is a religious obligation for every Muslim who is considered mature, mentally sane, healthy and not traveling.

There are no fatwas – or religious rulings – that grant fasting exemptions for first responders, he added. But, Abdur-Rashid said, one is definitely needed. In fact, he generated one immediately after speaking with CNN.

"The purpose of the fast is not to place the fasting person in the face of harm, but to teach self-restraint,” Abdur-Rashid said.

“And the moment the fast becomes dangerous, or external conditions place the fasting person in harm's way," he said, "then the fasting person is not only permitted, but in many cases, religiously obliged to break their fast.”

Abdur-Rashid's new fatwa may be especially valuable to Muslims like New Yorker Ahmed Sabree, who battles fires while wearing heavy equipment during the searing summer heat.

Sabree, 42, said the arrival of Ramadan this July took him back to his training days with the New York Fire Department nearly eight years ago.

Sabree endured intense physical drills that included racing up six-story buildings, pulling up hoses and crawling on the floor.

Trainers told the budding firefighters to “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” Sabree recalls.

He contemplated breaking the fast, at least to drink some water, and researched Islamic texts for guidance.

Sabree concluded that his training, though grueling, was insufficient reason to drink water during the day.

Ramadan is not just about enduring physical hardships for hardships' sake, Sabree said. Instead, the holy month has a deeply spiritual dimension.

The firefighter said Ramadan's rituals offer an opportunity to “get back on track” and become more conscientious of his responsibilities to God and his fellow man.

That doesn’t mean fasting is easy for Sabree, so he takes precautions to lighten the load a bit.

For instance, he volunteered for the lunchtime watch shift at his firehouse in Harlem, New York, while others are eating in the kitchen, better to keep the alluring aromas of food at bay.

And if a fire breaks during the time of breaking the fast, Sabree responds immediately. To the fire that is, not his stomach.

“If it’s time to break the fast and there’s a fire, you gotta go,” Sabree said. “I’ll break my fast with some water and go.”

READ MORE: Muslims have mixed views on TSA Ramadan advisory

Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar of Wayne County in Michigan is also fasting this year.

Jaafar says Ramadan is “kind of a cool time,”  but he doesn’t mean temperature.

In fact, for the last several years, Ramadan has fallen during the hottest summer months. The holy month is calculated by a lunar, rather than fixed calendar, so it rotates from year to year.

“Unfortunately, I can’t adjust my schedule in the profession I am in. This year is going to be a tough one,” Jaafar said. He is expected to keep the same long hours and fulfill the same duties as his fellow officers.

But there are some perks to celebrating Ramadan in Michigan, home to the largest concentration of American Muslims in the United States. When the holy month comes around, fasting isn’t much of a foreign concept, even for those not Muslim.

This understanding translates into small workarounds for Jaafar. Sometimes, if he begins his workday early enough, he is able to finish in time to get home for dinner.

“My hours can be flexible, and usually I can break my fast with family,” Jaafar said. He uses this time to visit his mother every day and to attend the mosque with his children.

As for Jabbar, the medical resident is trying to make up for not fasting through other spiritually fulfilling options, such as praying and helping heal her patients.

“Spirituality has to become part of my clinical practice, because I spend so much time of my life there,” she said.

But Jabbar said she still misses the slowing down that Ramadan's daytime fasting requires.

"I am trying to make it up in terms of remembrance," of God, she said. "It doesn’t always feel sufficient."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Faith & Health • Holidays • Islam • Islamic law • Ramadan

soundoff (647 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Putting the kibosh on all religion and religious fasting in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    August 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • cosmicc

      The next thing you're going to tell me is that no pasta can spontaneously overcome gravity. Praise his noodly goodness and pass the grated cheese.

      August 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  2. Reality

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    August 4, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Khan

      You are as misguided as those who carry out attacks against innocent Muslims/Non-Muslims around the world. They are few brain washed lunatic who are using Islam for their political agendas just like you are brain washed about the religion of Islam.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Khan

      U need to grow up dude, there are 1.3 billion plus muslims living on this planet and you are calling them terrorists. Height of ignorance...

      August 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • Reality


        Religion………………………… Adherents

        Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

        Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion

        Sunni Muslims 1 billion

        Hinduism 900 million

        Chinese traditional religion 394 million
        Buddhism 376 million
        Animist religions 300 million
        Shiite Muslims 260 million
        African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
        Sikhism 23 million
        Juche 19 million
        Spiritism 15 million

        Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

        Baha'i 7 million
        Jainism 4.2 million
        Shinto 4 million
        Cao Dai 4 million
        Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
        Tenrikyo 2 million
        Neo-Paganism 1 million
        Unitarian Universalism 800,000
        Rastafari Movement 600,000

        August 4, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • RealReality

      A commoner in Riyadh asks the same question as a commoner in DC, "why do they hate us so much?". Wake up and smell the coffee bro, stop living life with a tinfoil hat on. Go study real Islam if you want to know the "reality". Try and be a promoter of peace and love in this world by building bridges of understanding instead of painting horrific pictures about the entire 10 million American Muslims and 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe..

      August 4, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Reality

      Our War on Terror and Aggression:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

      (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

      26 ) September 12, 2012
      Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

      27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life. A
      Continued below:
      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      – Ditto for Abu Yahya al-Libi on June 5, 2012

      August 4, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  3. Colin

    There is good reason to think that Mohammed never existed. The first references to him are from about the year 700, well after he supposedly lived. Also, "Mohammed" at the time was a generic term that simply meant "blessed" or " learned" one. The Dome of the rock is very likely an early Byzantine Christian church – just look at its architecture.

    Like Christianity, Islam is built largel on unsupported myth.

    August 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Khan

      Have you ever studied Koran my friend? If not, why dont u try?

      August 4, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • MagicPanties

        Have you ever studied Greek and Roman mythology?
        Just as valid as your fairy tale.

        You believe what you were taught to believe, just like 99% of the rest of the world's religious believers.
        Childhood brainwashing. Yes, it's that simple.

        August 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • Khan

          Brain washing? huh....why are you punishing yourself? You are not fasting but still whining about it.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • 99%

          Makes you sound real S-M-R-T calling 99% of the world brainwashed.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • zyad

      Sorry to tell you but these lines you wrote are the myths indeed.

      First, prophet Mohammed is from Quraish tribe who lived in Mecca before he was born and this tribe is descedent of Ismael.
      the tribe still exist and they all of them pround to be descedent of this family.

      Second, we have millions who memeorize Quran from cover to cover and they take a approval only after they read it completelt to somene who was previously approved before. This human chain of approvals all end to prophet mohammed.

      Third prophet Mohammed is a messanger of God and the main purpose of sending him is to deliver the message of Islam.
      This message is well kept with Quran(exact words of God) and thousands of authentic saying of the prophet

      August 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • MagicPanties

        Fourth, my invisible pink unicorn can't stop laughing at your nonsense.

        August 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
      • Z

        Thank you!

        August 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  4. Jacob Wang

    The sentence should read: "while ABSTAINING from eating & drinking during the day"

    August 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  5. Arabiy

    CNN always try to bring sensational negative stories about Islam in their front page. Well, how about putting on the first page the stories of the Egyptian military coupe created and supported by Westerns who claimed to support freedoms. The truth is very clear to the whole world when 1% Westerns open their mouth with the word freedom it means propaganda, war, hate to Islam, military coups, support for corruption. It is true 1% controls 99% in the west.

    August 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Khan

      Well said.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
      • Roshan

        I really belive this. I have been following Cnn.com daily from past 7 years. There wasn't a day i did not check cnn.com page in last seven years. 99% of the time if there is any article in regards to ISLAM, MUSLIMS or ( PROPTHET MUHAMMAED ) CNN post Negative about ISLAM.

        August 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      Is the Egyptian military coupe a convertible?
      Does it come in red?

      August 4, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Ahmed

      General Sisi was blaming the US yesterday for not telling the Islamic Brotherhood to stop demonstrating against him. You are blaming the US for supposedly being the reason General Sisi did his coup. Have you ever thought of the possibility that the problem is with the selfish and short-sighted nature of both General Sisi and of Morsi and other individuals in power in Egypt. Blaming the US is easy of course – but it doesnt solve anything and it doesnt fool anyone other then fellow muslims.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • Arabiy

        US could stop the 1.5 B to Egyptian army if it is not their military coupe. How about these triple visits by US diplomats to a military government. Do you need somebody to illustrate the SUN goes from East to west or waiting on some propaganda media to contradict facts. Islam is the best just system found on earth, but due to the weakness of Muslims, and the western media and propaganda, the world do not know the facts.

        August 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Jim in Long Beach

      Why is CNN having stories about ramadan? Because they are all about being inclusive. Lots of their viewers are muslim, so it's only logical that they'd give a nod to that demographic. As for my thoughts, the entire muslim religion and its practices stick in my craw! lol It's a dreadful, onerous, dreary religion. Just go to the middle east. A pall hangs over that whole area. It's palpable.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  6. Godiva4u2

    I think that Muslims who work for rescue/emergency services and decide to observe Ramadan are placing others in danger. We all know that most common side effects from fasting is dehydration, fatigue, and confusion. If you suffer from those conditions you are incapable of performing your job to the required standard. Who really wants to take a chance of having a doctor or a nurse who is suddenly not as energetic and focussed? How about police officer or fireman who is exhausted and may slow down emergency rescue efforts?

    August 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Ahmad

      Firstly fasting is a part of all religions, so dont take this article for another excuse for anti-Muslim biases. Secondly everyone is responsible for deciding for themselves if they are fit to work every day. Do they have headache, were they disturbed at night..etc This decision is no different. It is personal.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • Godiva4u2

        The decision is personal only as long as it does not impact others. What give you a right to impose your beliefs on others?

        August 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • daichi

          and likewise Godiva4u2 what gives you the right to do the same, i am tried of christians who think they are better, yet 95% christians, don't follow their religion as required, ie church every day,pray everyday, respect to others and other religions. yet they say christians don't kill in the name of God, ohh okay, your wrong, Facts: Hilter was a christian,Wacco issue in 1994 were parents killed themselves and children, tim McVeigh in 1995, the norway shooter, and elisabeth smart, ohh not to mention that in christian bible, read the story of abraham (i'm copying and paste the artical) Abraham Tested
          22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
          “Here I am,” he replied.
          2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” and that is the christian bible read it yourself, research it whatever

          August 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • Arabiy

          What give the western to impose their fake freedom on other countries with Drone, wars, and killing?

          August 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Thomas Nelson

      I concur wholeheartedly. I'm a Muslim and also a volunteer firefighter. The approach I've taken is that I will fast as usual until a call comes in requiring strenuous activity, in which case I will immediately break the fast for the day by taking water and some food to increase energy immediately. And during the call I will, as the article suggests, "Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!" In my opinion, Islam does not require a Muslim to endanger others so that the fast can be completed. Another issue is that a fasting Muslim first responder could not be operating at peak level, thus endangering others who might be called upon to rescue him/her.
      What's the big deal? The fast day lost can be made up later – which is the case for other days lost due to travel, etc. Certainly assisting others in need is a more critical reason to break the fast than the inconvenience of travel.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Khan

      Fasting help you do your job more accurately and perfectly simply because you have this religious duty force you be honest/hardworking/caring and kind.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • Godiva4u2

        Your good intentions mean very little to me if you are accidentally get confused and inject me with a wrong medication. You have no right to impose your reckless behavior on others.

        August 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • M327

          So a person who is not fasting, or wasn't fasting at a particular time, has never ever, NEVER EVER, made the mistake of administering the wrong medication. Is that what you're saying? If you are, you are very wrong my friend.

          August 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  7. d

    "Jabbar said she feared that fellow Muslims would criticize her if she didn’t fast"..
    so is she afraid of her fellow Muslims or her religion? that's how these people work, fanatic ones make other fear and follow... sick religion.

    August 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • zyad

      Why do you have this sick conclusion?
      a muslim fast because he or she belives in God

      Specially fasting nobody can watch 24 hr so muslims fast purely out of their belive and love to God

      August 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • asimj

      That's the only reason this cult has survived to this age. Threats of all kinds if you stop believing or following. Whereas in other open religious beliefs like hinduism or buddhism people take whatever they find true or helpful in it.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Thomas Nelson

      Come on, d, I think this comment is unworthy of you.
      Tom Nelson

      August 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Ahmed

      It is indeed true that in muslim countries like Pakistan (where I come from), virtually all Arab nations and of course mullah-ruled Iran and stone-age Afghanistan, religion has become a widespread social disease (fuelled in part by petrodollars from Saudi Arabia at least in Pakistan) which includes overt displays of religiosity and aggressive demands for conformity of everyone to their own diseased mindsets. In the KP province of Pakistan for example, a man eating in his house was dragged out and beaten in public. And this was not even in the taliban-controlled areas!! However, in doing so, these "muslims" (who number in the hundreds of millions no doubt) are violating the basic message of the Quran which clearly says that even the Prophet Muhammed is just a messenger and implementation is not his concern. So, it is not Islam that is the cause of this problem. It is the primitive mindsets of these muslims (many of whom never lose these mindsets even if they get the benefit of PhDs from western universities). Your blaming Islam for this is like someone blaming Christianity for the burning of women on the stake in the middle ages.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • FA

        Well said. BTW i agree with you, i just visited Karachi last year and was shocked. Man that country has changed for the worst.

        August 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • M327

      If she's worried about criticism from others, she doesn't really understand fasting.

      August 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  8. Sultan Ahmad

    The Qur'an specifically mentions that fasting need not be a hardship. If you are sick of traveling you can do it another day. If you are too old or too sick so that you cannot ever make up, then the Qur'an instructs you to feed a poor person for every day you miss. I would say Jabbar may not fast during her hectic days but must make up for the days lost when she can during the year.

    August 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • L77

      Excellent response, Sultan. Salaam, Laila

      August 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  9. ALLuh

    Religion has retarded humans for too long, how on Earth can you have a high education and believe in this Satanic nonsense?

    August 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Ahmad

      You are the only person who has mentioned Satan. Sounds like you have some major hangups.

      I suggest you get some help by talking to the imam at your local mosque.

      August 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • zyad

      Satanic nonsense????
      Satan is enemy no 1 for a muslim, God orders us not to follow his foot steps in The Quran "O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing"

      August 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Khan

      Really dude? I think first of all you need to study Islam.

      Ms Jabbar you should know that it is a test from Almighty Allah, Accept it with open happen heart.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  10. tiger

    here is a protien shake that is easily digestible and slowly breaks down to provide day long energy, with raw products full of complex carbs and very high in protein and omega fatty acids and moderate to low in fat all monounsaturated fatty acids. it gives app 800 calories, 51 grams of protein and healthy fat:
    keep a blender ready and pour 1 cup of Quaker oats from cereal section in walmart. blend it at high speed for about 5 mins. add a cup of almonds and a big scoop of weigh protein. add one banana and one tbs of organic peanut butter.
    then add one cup of greek plain yogurt that is zero fat. add cold water to double the volume. blend it for few mins. hopefully you will not think of food for an entire day and perform reasonably better at your work. make sure to eat a small protein meal in the morning with it before you start your fast! small means may be a chicken or turkey sandwich of some kind!

    August 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  11. Another Voice

    Imam Abdur-Rashid should extend the fatwa to include not just the health and safety of the person fasting, but also the health and safety of anyone that fasting person might be responsible for. A doctor may not be physically at risk by slightly lower blood sugar, but since it affects their mental acuity, their patients could be at risk.

    The fatwa could also be specific about the limits of breaking that fast. Perhaps not a full meal, but if you have something as simple as a cup of water and an energy bar, I would think that the hunger would help you keep the discipline and mindfulness that is the purpose of fasting while still protecting your health and the health of those you serve.

    August 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  12. srs

    Extremists and fundamentalist (from all religions) ruin this world... I hope we can see more moderate christians, jews, and muslims, who use common sense and don't only follow old rules blindly. And people who have become intelligent enough to understand not necessary what we have been told for centuries is the truth or from God, but many of those rules are simply made by opportunists who dictate people to believe in whatever they say in order to maintain their power.

    August 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  13. Me and You!

    Why fast?

    It seems to me people do things, like fasting, blindly.

    But, in reality, which, most of the time, we are not, fasting is a personal thing to remind one of the times of hunger in the times of plenty.

    Simply put: Fasting is to remind one to be thankful for the things in life that they do have, and to not waist time and energy wishing for things they do not!

    August 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • L77

      Excellent response. I agree wholeheartedly.

      August 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  14. So

    I ate like a pig last night, I was hungry, and I probably won't eat again until this evening, and I'm not Muslim. I didn't have any reason for it. So you think that I'm fasting for a reason? No. I just don't want to balloon up because I recognize I ate too much the night before, and eating again early in the day will make me gain weight. If I eat all the calories I need for a day during the evening, there you go, no fast, it's just one meal in a day.


    August 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • So

      It would be very easy to gain weight during your Ramadan, that's not a fast, it's juts one meal aday.


      August 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • zyad

      Fasting from food is just one part of fasting, the other part is that you are doing because you believe in God and you fasting even when nobody around just because you believe. You got the diffirrence!

      August 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • So

      But are you really believing God? Mohammad said that the Torah and Prophets were filled with lies, but then claimed to follow the same God. Mohammed then followed on with a claim that all the apostels lied... more prophets being said to have lied. There are 39 separate sources in the bible over centuries saying the same thing, all of them have to be liars for Mohammaed to be right. Do you really think that is possible? Mohammad also claimed Gabriel told them they all lied, but it was Gabriel that said the messiah would be cut off and when... and when in deed.


      August 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  15. eric

    It's really not rational to starve your body of essential nutrients.

    August 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Jimmy

      Rational for what? Depends on what your objectives are. Poor people starve everyday, the wealthy never feel this as they usually overdulge themselves. So in order to help, sometimes it's best to feel what other people are feeling. Just like many charities of cancer, diabetes etc, many of the individuals who started these charities either were directly affected by the affliction or had loved ones die from it so they felt the pain. Fasting helps an individual feel the pain of the poor. As starvation deaths and malnutrition is by far the leading health problem in the world.

      August 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • ConnieLynn

      Fasting is not a new concept. In fact fasting can be good for you body – especially here in the US where people overeat. Fasting during Ramadan isn't about not eating, it's about controlling your lower instincts. Discipline –

      August 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Ahmad

      Please look up the difference between stravation and fasting. You are completely missing the point.

      August 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  16. Waddy Winky

    I have a brother in law that is a Muslim and if he is "working in the field" he must eat and drink to survive the heat, so he told me that if he goes by the local mosque and donate the cost of a meal or two that makes up for him breaking fast. I guess it is like everything else, all about $$$$$$$$$$...

    August 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • zyad

      Muslim who work in harsh enviroment is allowed to not to fast.
      They should fast other days in the year when they can.

      If the condition is persisitant all year around, he or she can feed a poor man for each day he missed in ramadan.
      So the money is paid directly to the poor no body else is invloved between Man and God , we do not need another human to worship God

      August 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Ahmad

      It is not about about $$$$$. It is about about making a better world, either by getting control over your own body, or helping the less fortunate.

      Why exactly do you have a problem with either of these?

      August 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • Kahmir Ubich

        How have Muslims made the world a better place? Suicide bombers, 9/11, USS Cole. It seems to me the Religion of "Peace" is really a Religion of Cowards.

        August 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  17. george

    I just wonder, how a religious people could be so disciplined in their beliefs and at the same time so irrational and fanatics..............I guess a Godless world will be better.....without fanatics

    August 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Atheistic fanaticisms is just as unsettling as religious fanaticisms...

      August 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • ConnieLynn

      Not all are irrational and fanatics = just a few that makes the rest of us look bad.

      Man has been using religion for thousands of years as an excuse for their hatred.. I don't know one major religion that condones killing other people.. These types of people are idiots of their own religion – most are like sheep that follow the idiots who like power and control. What they practice is not Islam.

      August 4, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        Today's atheistic fanatics have tendencies to bring up religious atrocities from past histories even though today's religions have long since been found marginally harmonious in moralism and civilities. While nationalistic pertinences are varied each according to their own flocks demands, religious sovereignties around nationalisms are halfway censored here in the U.S.A. As this world's internationalisms become ever a globalization issue, many religious ambiguities are left stranded with hardly any steering currencies by which to navigate their flocks governmentally wise. Therefore, is it really wise to establish rules of governmental laws being disrespectful of all religions' absorption ratios within their many varying societal regimes that dare protrude upon the social fabrics of moral and civil disciplinary virtues?

        August 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Ahmad

      In your godless world you would still be left with Hitler, Stalin and Pol-pot. Sounds a like a good place to live?

      August 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • Arielle

        Hitler was a Christian, but I get what you mean. We'd also be left with the 9/11 pilots, right?

        August 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • zyad

      Fanatic muslim is a very small group of people but because of media focusing on them 24 hr 7 day a week , u think all muslim are fanatic

      August 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  18. Hajje Majeed

    To Fast or Not to Fast? This is the question. The Prescriber Has given the answers and work is NOT one. Work is no excuse from fasting for the farmer who must labor in the paddy fields under the unforgiving sun for long hours to provide for his family. He is not worried about dehydration, although he sweats profusely. His fa

    August 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Arielle

      I don't think that when the Koran was written, anyone could possibly know what future occupations could be affected by fasting; although Allah should have known. What does this imply?

      August 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Jimmy

        You should learn about the religion before judging it. If fasting does great harm to your body and your family due to working conditions then you don't need to fast. You just feed a certain amount of poor people.

        August 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Arielle

          Uh, did we read the same article, Sparky? If it were that simple, don't you think she'd be doing it?
          I don't think you are anywhere near the scholar of Islam you are pretending to be.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • Jimmy

        Obviously you didn't read the article when Jabbar said.... “Of course I pray," Jabbar said. "I am just choosing not to fast. We have a lot of pressure to demonstrate to our community that we’re Muslim.”

        Lol....I think you should re-read the article. In Islam, if fasting does extreme harm to you then you shouldn't fast. that's why the elderly, the sick, children, the disabled, people traveling etc etc are exempt from fasting

        August 5, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • SteveOfTX

      The farmer in the field is endangering nobody but himself. The difference is that fasting in an occupation where others health and/or safety is at stake could endanger them. I seriously doubt if the prophet meant that you should take risks with the lives of others.

      August 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
      • Jimmy

        Well steve, that's your assumption, you know obviously have very little knowledge of Islam except what the propoganda machine CNN tells you, so there's no point debating. If the person fasting is the only person working in the family and the person is unable to work properly while fasting which may result in him losing his job then he is affecting himself AND his family as they will have NO INCOME TO SURVIVE.

        August 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • SteveOfTX

          I was not replying to you, and you seem to be arguing my position: If fasting causes someone to endanger others, then he is not required to fast.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  19. Dweezil

    Islam 1 – Common Sense 0.

    August 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.