Ramadan Rapid Review

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) has undertaken a series of rapid evidence reviews.

We are exploring the impact of observing the fast of Ramadan alongside common health conditions or unique personal circumstances e.g. fasting wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Summary table of risks/recommendations of fasting in patients during Ramadan. Open image for PDF. For full guidance document, see below.

The objective of these reviews is to synthesise the existing literature on fasting with these conditions and understand if there are any adverse or beneficial effects on patients from observing Ramadan.

Medical research on Ramadan is a nascent field in the literature and many studies are of limited use and poor quality.

We have sought the views of experts for their recommendations, with consensus, to help inform guidance – especially where the literature is inconclusive or non-existent.

The guidance herein is to facilitate patients/individuals and healthcare professionals in decisions relating to embarking on fasting and safe fasting, if fasting is undertaken.

The guidance is not authoritative, but informative and ultimately the final decision to fast or not rests with the patient/individual concerned.

We also explore the literature on fasting on the immune system and risk of infections, to help inform how this may play a role in the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as any occupational effects from fasting.

Full guidance on risks and recommendations of patients fasting in ramadan


This is a rapid review of the evidence on fasting in Ramadan undertaken by the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This work has not been through a formal consultation process. Rapid peer review was obtained for each topic area following methodological support from Healthcare Improvement Scotland; it should not replace individual clinical judgements and the sources cited should be checked.

It does not form a directive and should be used by individuals to frame an informed discussion with their clinicians.

The views expressed represent the views of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BIMA, and are not a substitute for professional advice.

These are to be read as informative recommendations and guidance, rather than authoritative or prescriptive directives for use by healthcare professionals. The application of these recommendations, particularly in relation to a positive decision to embark on fasting in Ramadan, should not be undertaken by patients without consultation with their responsible healthcare professional.


Further read:

Rapid Review by the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine on “Is it safe for patients with COVID-19 to fast in Ramadan”