Medical staff in UAE to be excused from fasting

Faith Grigory Matyunin 20-Apr-2020
Muslim young woman praying at home
ID 151282016 © Leonid Yastremskiy |

The Emirates Fatwa Council has exempted healthcare staff, tasked with treating covid-19 patients, from fasting throughout the holy month of Ramadan. Believers have been asked to pray at home rather than congregating together.

Able-bodied adults are still expected to fast, however, medical staff are relieved of this obligation “if they fear that fasting could lead to weakening their immunity or to losing their patients”.

Muslims have been urged to comply with the social distancing measures introduced by the government, both throughout Ramadan and during Eid Al Fitr. Prayers in all mosques are to be suspended. No mass iftars are to take place. The religious authorities have explained that congregating to pray would put lives at risk which would strongly violate Islamic teachings.

The UAE has recorded 6,781 infections and 41 deaths.

UAE Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum announced a humanitarian campaign on Sunday which will see the distribution of 10 million food parcels to those in need.

The Gulf States have taken a range of steps to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Holy sites have been closed off. Saudi Arabia has announced a program designed to pay a large portion of workers’ wages in a bid to forestall mass layoffs. Muslims worldwide have been asked to avoid making bookings for the Hajj pilgrimage.