When people have any doubt about religious matters, they usually approach a religious cleric to give them guidance or a fatwa regarding the issue. The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has made this easy by operating a fatwa information hotline (#149). Sheikh Ahmad, a cleric who was on duty to answer questions by callers when Kuwait Times called, said queries change during different times of the year.
“In Ramadan, the majority of calls focus on three main issues – rules about fasting, zakat and finally umrah, as many people go for pilgrimage during Ramadan,” he said. “Many people ask about mistakenly drinking or eating during the fast. They also ask what they can and cannot do during the daytime when they are fasting, especially when it comes to marital relations,” he added.
Sheikh Ahmad said there are many popular myths about acts that break the fast, which are not true. “Many people believe injections break the fast, but this is not true. Taking any kind of medicine via injection is allowed while fasting. Also, blood transfusions do not affect fasting. Some people say brushing with toothpaste spoils the fast, but this can only happen if the person swallows the paste. To avoid any doubt, I advise people to use a miswak (wooden twig),” he explained.
Fasting hours differ according to geographic location, and in some areas it’s extremely long. “On the two poles, the fasting duration is 22 hours and the night is only two hours long. So people there are allowed to fast for the same duration as people do in Makkah, which is 15 hours. They start fasting at dawn and break their fast after 15 hours, even if the sun is up,” Sheikh Ahmad said.
The fatwa information hotline accepts questions by callers daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, and from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm during the holy month of Ramadan.
During the rest of the year, calls are answered from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon, and from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. According to Sheikh Ahmad, about eight sheikhs rotate during the week on different days for periods set by the ministry. Sheikh Ahmad works on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
By Nawara Fattahova