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Advice for Fasting During Exam Season

This year, Ramadan starts on May 5th and the main exam period starts on Monday 13th May. Preparation and time management will be of key importance for the exam period.

The NHS has the following advice on How to Stay Healthy During Ramadan

  • Prior to Ramadan, a Muslim should always consult with a doctor about the safety of fasting in individual health circumstances.
  • Even if you are generally healthy, recognise that Ramadan will take a toll. Plan your schedule and meals ahead of time in order to make sure you get the nutrients, hydration, and rest that you need.
  • Eat suhoor just prior to dawn. This morning meal is generally recognized as the single most important meal of the day. Do not overeat, though. Focus on taking in foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, fruits or vegetables, and plenty of water. For example: an egg on whole-grain toast, a few crackers with peanut butter, some orange slices, and two glasses of water.
  • During the hottest part of the day, stay in cool areas (indoors or in shade) and limit your physical activity. Rest if possible.
  • Light exercise, such as walking for 15-20 minutes, is best done in the evening hours.
  • Organize your schedule so that you get enough sleep.

Fasting teaches great discipline and is an opportunity to reflect, enhance spiritually and self-develop.

However, Muslim scholars agree that if there is danger to their health, and it is reaching to life threating situation it is permitted for someone to break their fast and indeed they should do so immediately. This should not be regarded as a sin. The College Nurse is here to ensure you are not in any danger of a low blood sugar level and dehydration. If she suspects this she will encourage you to drink fluids and on some occasions may recommend you have some glucose, this could come in the form of a high sugar drink, halal Harribo’s or glucogel.

If a student feels that fasting is affecting their health or concentration during examinations and making them feel under pressure, then some scholars are of the opinion that there is an option to not fast. If this situation occurs the students can make up those fasts on a later date.

According to Islamic scholars, those who are not fasting for any reason such as those mentioned above should not eat/drink openly as this is not appropriate. For those students who wish to drink and eat during Ramadan but who wish to first discuss fasting during this time, please see Abdul Majeed in the Languages Department on the first floor of the Crescent.

Abdul Majeed

(Secretary – General Azad Shariah council UK)