A senior Shia cleric based in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf said Muslims are not allowed to skip fasting in Ramadan for concerns about the coronavirus unless there is real fear of contracting the virus.
In response to an Istifta (new inquiry), Ayatollah Muhammad Is’haq Fayadh issued a Fatwa (religious edict) saying that fasting in the holy month is an important religious obligation in Islam.
Therefore, he said, skipping it only because of some general recommendations is not allowed unless there is real fear of contacting the virus given certain physical conditions or in certain vocations.
Those who cannot take precautionary measures like wearing masks and gloves, or stay a safe distance away from others given their working conditions given their working conditions and there is high possibility that fasting will cause them to be infected with the coronavirus can skip fasting only on the days they have such special conditions, he said.
In such cases, one should consults the doctor about his or her conditions to decide whether fasting migt do harm to their health, according to Ayatollah Fayadh.
The cleric went on to stress that even if someone does not fast, Tazahor (public display- breaking the fast in the public) is not allowed at all.
He further prayed that the pandemic will soon be eradicated all over the world and that those infected with the disease will have swift recovery.
Ramadan will start on April 24 or 25 this year, subject to the sighting of the crescent moon.
The coronavirus pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China, late last year, has infected more than 2 million people worldwide and killed nearly 135,000.