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See also the main Wikipedia article on Islam.

There is great variety in the beliefs of Muslims, with many different sects (the best known of which are probably Shia and Sunni). There is a great deal of overlap between religious and cultural beliefs: some claim, for example, that not only male circumcision, but also female circumcision, often referred to as female genital mutilation, are mandated by Islam; while others claim that the latter, at least, is a cultural accretion. Shariah is the ideal realization of divine justice — a higher law reflecting God’s will but as interpreted by some can have cultural accretion. Some believe that the texts in the Koran about "modesty" should be interpreted to mean that women should cover their hair, or even their entire bodies while in the presence of adult males who are not family members; while others claim that these beliefs are also cultural accretions. Some of the beliefs are based on exhortations in the holy book of Islam, the Koran, to be as much like prophet Mohammed (PBUH) as possible: and this goes some way to explaining why some extreme sects believe that it is a sin, for example, for men to shave. It may also explain why classical Arabic is used by many Muslims.

(The "PBUH" above is an abbreviation for "peace be upon him" - a phrase which is usually added by devout muslims after mentioning the name of a prophet name in speech or writing.)

  • Ramadan, fasting and medications - see below
  • Islam and vaccination
  • "The use of unlawful or juridically unclean substances in Food and Medicine" - see here.
  • Medications derived from animals
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Treatment of the body after death[1][2]
  • Female (and male) modesty[3][4][5]


Islam and fasting

Muslims who are fit to do so are expected to fast according to the religious calendar, most particularly during Ramadan (aka Ramzan).[6] Some brief points about Ramadan:[7]

  • No food or drink allowed from before sunrise to sunset. Ramadan - like Easter - can occur at different points in the year. In mid-summer in the UK this can mean a daytime fast of over 19 hours in total.
  • Individuals may lose sleep, due to requirements to pray during the night

Some people are not expected to fast - for example

  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing (breast-feeding) mothers
  • Children (pre-puberty)
  • Travellers
  • People who are (or become) ill, or who have to take multiple medications
  • Diabetics, especially if on insulin
  • Fasting may cause symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, lethargy, dehydration, digestive problems, stress, or (occasionally) fainting.

External links - resources relating to Ramadan/fasting and health

Islam and vaccination

The Muslim Council of Britain has always maintained and advised that immunisation/vaccination must be offered to all individuals identified to be at risk of communicable disease in order to prevent disease and deaths.[9]

See also

  • "Caring for Muslim patients." Aziz Sheikh, Abdul Rashid Gatrad (eds). (155 pages, £17.95.) Radcliffe Medical Press Ltd, 2000. ISBN 1-85775-372-0.
  • Article: " Islam and the four principles of medical ethics."[10]