DUBAI (AFP) – Workers contending with high heat and humidity can break their Ramadan fasts to avoid health problems, according to a fatwa issued by the top religious authority in the United Arab Emirates.
“It is permissible for workers in certain professions to break the fast because of severe hardship,” says the fatwa, or Islamic religious edict, issued by the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments.
However, it says that this is only on the condition that the worker start the day fasting, and stop only when it is too difficult to continue.
The fatwa, published on the General Authority’s website, was issued in response to a question from an oil rig worker who asked whether it was permissible to break his fast over fears of health problems from not eating or drinking while working in high heat and humidity.
Temperatures in the desert Gulf state consistently top 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins either on Wednesday or Thursday, with the exact day depending on the sighting of the new moon.