KARACHI - Eminent religious scholars, national and international health experts have said that keeping fast is beneficial for healthy Muslims, but it is mandatory for the patients to follow the advice of doctors in the month of Ramazan as doctor’s status becomes ‘Ameer’ for their patients in the holy month.

They declared that keeping fast against the recommendations of health experts was forbidden.

They said it was generally safe to keep fast for the diabetics, pregnant women and people with cardiovascular diseases and even beneficial for the people with mental disorders as fasting boosts the mental health and immune system but doctors must be consulted to ascertain their opinion before deciding to keep fast or not. Certain patients having cancers could also keep fast in consultation with their doctors but there were several types of cancers in which patients could not hold fast, the experts said and added that doctors or a panel of doctors could suggest the best course of worship of Muslims patients in the holy month of Ramadan.

They expressed these views while speaking at the concluding ceremony of the 4th International Diabetes and Ramadan Conference held here at a local hotel. On the occasion, Ramazan Specific Guidelines 2018, prepared by the Ramazan Study Group were also launched, which would be distributed among doctors in Karachi and other cities of Pakistan so that they could advise patients on how to keep fast safely. Mufti Muhammad Ibrahim Essa from Darul-Ifta, Jamiah Daruloom Karachi said doctors become “Mufti” and “Ameer” for their patients in the holy month of Ramadan.

 and added that acting against their advice and keeping fast when they prohibit it for the patients is ‘forbidden’ and ‘sinful’.

Replying to questions, he said Islam does not ask its followers to kill themselves and added that in life-threatening conditions like in the case of sunstroke, it is mandatory to break the fast to save one’s life.

Eminent neurologist and expert from Aga Khan University Prof. Muhammad Wasey Shakir claimed that keeping fast boosts mental health as well as strengthens the immunity of a person while the process of fasting plays an unprecedented role in improving mental health and slowing down the aging process in the humans.

Egyptian physician Dr Adel El Sayed said in certain conditions, fasting was beneficial for some patients with cardiovascular diseases provided they improve their dietary habits in consultation with doctors and added that it was scientifically proven that ‘fasting does not increase the burden of acute cardiac illness’ in the month of Ramadan.

Renowned gynecologist Prof Shabeen Naz Masood said generally it was safe for pregnant women to keep fast in the month of Ramadan although Quran and Hadith allow pregnant and lactating women not to keep fast and follow the injunction when they are done with pregnancy and complete their lactation period.

Presenting a study conducting in Malir area of the city, she said over 85 percent of pregnant women kept fast with or without the recommendations of their doctors.

Eminent Radiation Oncologist from AKUH, Ahmed Nadeem Abbassi observed that some cancer patients including those having skin cancers or tumours in the legs or arms could keep fast on the advice of doctors but many cancer patients could not keep fast due to severity of their disease.