COVID-19: Swab test and fasting for patients during Ramadan

RAMADAN, in Islam, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and is a holy time for Muslims who refrain from eating foods and liquids every year during the entire month.

However, many has raised the question on whether the nasal swab tests are permissible during Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

According to the 87th MKI National Muzakarah Committee, both swab test and oropharyngeal swab will not invalidate the fasting.

In fact, this issue was brought up last year and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Senator Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri was quoted saying that by the COVID-19 swab test does not invalidate a person’s fasting (during the month of Ramadan).

He elaborated that the insertion of swab device into the nostrils and the back of the throat – at a certain depth – does not bring about the impression of eating (feeling full) and drinking (quenching thirst) that can cause a Muslim’s fasting to be invalidated.

In addition, Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin also agreed that the COVID-19 nasal and throat swab tests do not invalidate the act of fasting among Muslims.

As reported by The Star last year, Asri explained: “The opinion that the swab test does not invalidate fasting is in line with the views of the Hanafi Islamic jurisprudence that requires the object that is inserted inside a bodily passage to remain inside and not be connected with something else outside of the human body.”

Meanwhile, as for stage 1 COVID-19 patients (asymptomatic, under monitoring and not under medications), they need to get advice from treating Muslim doctor on whether they should fast. But patients in staged 2 to 5 are obligatory not to fast and to replace their fasting. – April 11, 2021

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