University Chaplain Nigel Rawlinson asked our Imam Mohammed Gamal to share his advice about assessment, fasting and recommendations for our Muslim students.

Advice on fasting during exams

Nigel: I am aware that students can be excused from practice if it affects their mental ability at times of stress. Do you have any advice about this, for example alternatives to fasting that would be acceptable?

Mohammed: The shortest answer is that this depends on the individual and differs from one Muslim to another. Therefore, I unfortunately cannot give a generic answer. Some students are not greatly affected by fasting, and then they may choose to continue with their fast as usual. Others may feel that they can fast on days where examinations are scheduled in the morning session only, but cannot fast if there is an afternoon exam. Other students cannot fast at all during exams. However, the general rule is that if a student is greatly affected by fasting, then they are permitted not to fast and they should fast at a later date or give charity in accordance with the Islamic teachings. In all situations, fasting is a matter that is between the Muslim and God where no one can decide for the Muslim. While God permits those who cannot fast not to fast, deciding whether one can or cannot fast is left to the person’s discretion of their circumstances and urgences.

Missing Friday prayers because of occasional assessments

Nigel: Do you have any advice about reasonable reasons to miss Friday Prayers and other events, for occasional assessments?

Mohammed: While I hope that some flexibility from the University is exercised, students are permitted not to attend Friday prayers in situations where they have to sit for assessment and exams.

Iftar in Bath Mosque

Nigel: Are you holding Iftar for our Bath community this year?

Mohammed: Unfortunately, we are not holding Iftar gatherings this year due to Covid-19 restrictions. In fact, Bath mosque has been closed since March 2020 and we just opened this Ramadan for prayers in a socially-distanced manner. I hope we will be able to invite you all for Iftar next year when the pandemic is gone inshaAllah.

Many thanks to both Nigel and Mohammed.