Fasting Muslim falls asleep while driving, dies.

For a month every year Muslims are supposed to fast (i.e. not eat any food) during daylight hours – this is known as Ramadan. Most cope with this fine (and if you’re ill you can eat food). But one guy from my home town, despite feeling rather tired, decided to drive. And fell asleep. Alas, he hit a lamp-post and later died in hospital.

Bradford Coroners Court was told Maurice Gent, 59, was fasting for the Muslim festival of Ramadan and was “feeling tired” at the time of the collision.

The court heard how Mr Gent, of Waterside, Bingley, was taken to Airedale General Hospital where he told Accident & Emergency staff he thought he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Mr Gent, a civil servant, had complained of stomach pains in the ambulance. He was stable on arrival at hospital, but his condition started to deteriorate and he died of multiple organ failure on October 5, 2007 – six days after the collision.

Ramadan is actually getting earlier each year and this means that daylight hours will be getting longer, so it’ll be interesting to see if more accidents happen as a result of people fasting who really shouldn’t.

13 thoughts on “Fasting Muslim falls asleep while driving, dies.

  1. To me the question is, can you truly tie the fact that he was tired solely to his fasting? 

    While I admit it could have been some type of factor, I figure it was only a minimal factor.  At least that’s how I read it.

  2. My dad used to teach a lot of extension courses at nearby universities.  A workaholic, he. One day he came into my room carrying a new LF fender that he bought at the dealer for his Fiat 124.  “I have a job for you,” he said.

    Seems he’d awakened in time to choose between a roadside reflector and a ditch.  Chose the reflector, which tore up the fender quite convincingly.

    Y’know what?  Dose’ dam Fiat fenders was welded on with about a billion little spot-welds, not bolted on like a proper car of the era.  Took me forever to split all those welds and spot-weld on that new fender.  But I shouldn’t complain because he gave me the car a few years later when I needed a car.  That thing handled great.

    Anyway, there’s lots of reasons for falling asleep at the wheel.  And fasting is not a bad thing; it has several benefits.  For example I saw a study last year that suggested people who fast once a week are far less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

  3. I think it is a terrible abuse of the english language to call not eating any food during the day “fasting”. I mean come on fasting is not eating period like for days if not weeks. I fast myself on occasion it takes at least three days of not eating before i would even consider calling it a fast. (drinking soda teas and juices and shit counts as food btw here)

    Fasting for a week or two is not that bad nor is it as hard as it sounds the first few days are the worst, after about 2 weeks you don’t want to eat or at least i don’t. I have fasted a month or so a few times in my life. But anyway for a healthy person not eating during the day is not going to cause you to go to sleep driving. Fasting for weeks is not even going to do that, fasting doesn’t make you tired oddly enough it makes you feel energized. At least the first two or three weeks does.

  4. There are indeed many reasons to fall asleep on the wheel—like lack of sleep, say. Going hypoglycemic due to fasting is another option. The original article doesn’t really say if they figured out what was wrong with the guy.

  5. It is not an abuse of language to call one day fasting; it’s a one-day fast.  Most people feel hungry during that time, have to exert some self-control, maybe feel sleepy or maybe not, but it’s a fast.

    In earlier years I used to climb cliffs.  Others climb mountains.  It isn’t an abuse of language to call what I did “climbing”.  It’s just not as badass as climbing mountains.

  6. Yes, especially since the first meal of the day is one’s ‘break-fast’.

  7. I thought fast was the opposite of slow. Then there’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. English is such a difficult language!  LOL

  8. Wow, why did this take so long to get into the news!? it happened in October of 2007!!

    While it is true that the holy month of Ramadan moves earlier every year it has been during the longer days of the year for a few years now and this is the first we hear?!

  9. There was a formal inquest into his death – the verdict of the inquest was only announced this week.

    Having re-read the article I am having doubts that fasting was the cause of death, though it may have contributed as he may have been feeling more tired than usual. I don’t think a day of fasting is going to cause multiple organ failure, though injuries sustained in the accident may also have been a factor.

  10. Oh I understand now…

    Now I do not practice Islam, but as far as I understand pregnant women, kids and sick people do not fast for health reasons. So with that, and the points you made in your post above, I find it hard to blame it only on the fasting.

    Of course we have no way to know what really happened either, maybe the gentleman ignored some warning signs that he was not well. Also, car accidents cause weird injuries all the time….

  11. Actually, fasting can cause acute pancreatitis, gallstones and liver failure, all leading causes of MOF.  Was he on the first day of Ramadan?  Or the 30th? 

    And during Ramadan, they don’t really fast (as in not eating) for a month, they can eat and drink after sundown, so I agree with Les that fasting probably wasn’t the main cause of the MOF.

    Ramadan is a lunar holiday, so it moves throughout the year as the moon cycles.

    My moslem friends are always happy when Ramadan falls during the winter.  The days are shorter!


  12. At the moment it is getting earlier in the year, and, in the northern hemisphere at least, the daylight hours are getting longer so muslims will have to fast for longer periods of time. I think it begins in early September this year.

  13. Hi Neil:  I didn’t say it was getting shorter THIS year, just that when it does occur in the winter, fasting is for a shorter period of time.


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