Prayer, Reflection And Community


Ramadan is the most sacred and important month on the Islamic calendar and is observed by many staff and patients in our community.

Dr Noha Elserafy

Dr Noha Elserafy

Muslims observe Ramadan by fasting, which is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. Fasting is obligatory for all adult Muslims who are fit and healthy, who abstain from eating and drinking between dawn until sunset.

Dr Noha Elserafy, Clinical Geneticist from Nepean Hospital and a practicing Muslim says Ramadan is a month of self-reflection and improvement.

“For me, Ramadan is a precious and unique experience where we shift our focus on our spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing. It is a time for soul cleansing, self-control, and discipline,” says Dr Noha.

“In my family, we have special Ramadan decorations that my children decorate the house in preparation for this holy month. We usually have the pre-dawn meal together.”

Each adult is responsible for deciding whether to fast.

Pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating women, people who are experiencing illness and travellers are exempted from fasting, but they need to make up for missed days later. A person experiencing an ongoing illness is exempted from fasting and may offer fidyah (provide a meal to the poor) as an alternative.

A fasting adult may take the following medications/treatments without breaking their fast:

  • Injections (intramuscular, intravenous, intra dermal, subcutaneous, intraosseous, intracardiac) This also includes various COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Blood tests (thumb prick or intravenous)
  • Medications absorbed through the skin (e.g., transdermal nicotine patch)
  • Eye or ear drops (unless the tympanic membrane is perforated)
  • Concentrated oxygen, Vaginal pessaries, epidural analgesia, haemodialysis
  • gargling (as long as no liquid is swallowed).

The following will break the fast:

  • oral and nasal medications including inhalers, nebulisers, nose drops
  • rectal suppositories
  • smoking

Dr Noha acknowledges the first few days are a bit tough as their bodies get used to fasting.

“I would encourage everyone to read more about Ramadan to learn about this holy month and fasting practice,” says Dr Noha.

“It is always lovely to share iftar, the fast-breaking meal, with work colleagues. I love to share some of our delicious Eid cookies with my colleagues which are irresistible!”

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