“It felt really meaningful to give an insight into the experiences of Muslims with CF”

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With the start of Ramadan just under a month away, we’re sharing the story of Kareem, who has CF. Kareem and his sister Yasmin, who are both part of our Youth Advisory Group (YAG), recently reviewed our information for Muslims with CF who are making decisions about fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Photo of KareemMy name is Kareem and I was diagnosed with CF when I was 13. My family are Egyptian and my hobbies include playing football and Xbox. I also have an interest in reading and researching about the economy and am studying Business and Finance at University.

To someone who doesn’t know much about Ramadan, I would describe it as a month where Muslims abstain from eating and drinking, as well as other behaviours that are considered bad habits. It’s also a really important time to do charitable acts and donate a percentage of your yearly income. It’s a month which gives us a chance to remember how grateful we are, to feel connected, and a time when we’re encouraged to help the less fortunate and improve our daily habits.

There was a delay in receiving my CF diagnosis, so the first couple of years of being old enough to fast during Ramadan I didn’t know I had CF and really struggled with it. I would feel guilty and dread the time of year because I’d only be able to fast for half a day and would feel so weak but didn’t know why. Once I received my diagnosis, I wasn’t able to fast while I was still getting used to Creon and increasing my weight. CF impacted my body image which also made Ramadan even more anxiety-inducing. It took me some time to come to terms with my CF diagnosis and my new routine, but now I don’t see it as limiting anything I want to do in my life.

Islam states that those who cannot fast for medical reasons are completely removed from any responsibility to do so, and no one should ever feel guilty about the decision they make. I made the decision to only fast on days when I am staying home, or just for half a day. I still participate with everything else related to Ramadan: making sure I've eaten enough to keep me going during the evening prayers, helping set the dinner table, visiting family, and trying to improve my own bad habits. I also make sure I stay hydrated and don’t miss medications for the sake of fasting.

Photo of Kareem and his sistersTo other people with CF making decisions about fasting, I would say don't push yourself because of guilt or expectations. Take it one day at a time and do what’s right for you. Maybe just fasting at weekends, or for half a day. Or doing all the other parts of Ramadan that are just as important and will make you the happiest and most connected to this holy month. Fasting is just one part of Ramadan. Truly for me the best part of the month is the time to reflect and be grateful for every part of life.

Being involved in reviewing Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s Ramadan resource was really rewarding for us. It felt good to provide our personal experience on something close to us and help those from less represented backgrounds with CF. I couldn’t find any statistics on the internet on the percentage of people with CF who are Muslim, so helping give insight and colour to the reality of other Muslims with CF, and on such an important topic that affects us every year, feels like a really meaningful way to contribute.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic condition which causes sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive system. Over 10,800 people in the UK are living with cystic fibrosis (CF), but the condition is still widely misunderstood.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made common many of the everyday experiences of the CF community. The sacrifices made. The distances kept. The milestones missed.

But while many people now look forward to a return to normality as restrictions lift, the effects of the pandemic are not over for all of us. Those with cystic fibrosis must go on experiencing them, every day.

Because we were coughing before it went viral.

Find out more

Fasting during Ramadan and cystic fibrosis

Our information on fasting for people with cystic fibrosis. This information was written by a team of CF dietitians, and reviewed by a Muslim hospital chaplain and Muslims living with cystic fibrosis.


Our Helpline is available to anyone looking for information or support with any aspect of cystic fibrosis, a listening ear, or just to talk things through. Our friendly team are here if you need us.

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