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Islamic Voice Logo
MONTHLY    *    Vol 11-01 No:121    *  JANUARY 1997/ RAMADAN 1417H
email: editor@islamicvoice.com

Fasting does not increase acidity

The idea that fasting may cause an increase of gastric acidity in normal people is not true. Such an assumption is baseless and against the normal physiology of gastric acid secretion. It is an accepted physiological fact that fasting lowers the gastric acid. There is no scientific reason to suggest that Ramadan fasting may have any harmful effect on gastric acidity. On the contrary, scientific studies suggest that Ramadan fasting is beneficial to abnormal acidity. It is fashionable to blame Ramadan fasting for increased perforations of peptic ulcers. Some even say that fasting may cause peptic ulcers. Until now the cause of peptic ulcers has not been clear, though several possible factors are considered important, one of them being hyperacidity and fasting does not cause hyperacidity. So one may reasonably be sure that fasting has nothing to do with peptic ulcers. Besides, the prisoners of war in the German and japanese camps during the Second World War, though suffering from starvation did not show any increase in the incidence of peptic ulcers. Commenting on this, Dr. Cleave, Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (sings) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance y shall be grateful (2:185). a research scholar, stated that " fasting does not produce organic disease" and even starvation does not cause peptic ulcers. If fasting has got anything to do with peptic ulcers then Muslims as a nation should have a higher incidence of these ulcers than non-fasting nations. But Dr. Cleave's findings show that peptic ulcers are more common in non-Muslim majority areas. Researchers agree that poverty, starvation and fasting are not at all responsible for peptic ulcers. however, patients with an active peptic ulcer should not keep that fast, if fasting gives rise to pain in the abdomen. Peptic ulcer patients usually produce more hydrochloric acid in the stomach and this may happen even during fasting. Excess acid may damage the mucosa, particularly in the ulcer area, making the ulcer worse, and may even lead to perforation of the duodenum or stomach (wherever the ulcer is situated). Such a perforation is a serious surgical condition and dangerous. If the apparent feeling of hyperacidity gives discomfort, fasting may lower the acid and the patient may feel better in Ramadan. In fact the person concerned should make his own decision whether to keep or not to keep the fast. Similarly, if one suffers from diabetes mellitus of such severity that fasting for the required period leads to hypoglycaemic symptoms, then such a person falls into the category of sickness and as such fasting is not obligatory on him. (The Khaleej Times)

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