Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta, the official religious authority responsible for issuing edicts or fatwas for Muslims in the country, said Saturday students preparing for exams could skip fasting during the holy month of Ramadan if dawn-to-dusk abstinence from all food and drinks could affect their academic efforts.
Dar Al-Ifta said a student's decision not to fast must be bourne out of a real "necessity" dictated by certain unavoidable circumstances.
Ramadan, which is expected to last from 6 June until 7 July, falls this year during the critical Thanawiya Aama exams for last year high school students, as well as exams in most public universities.
Based on the Fatwa, the conditions which could allow students to choose not to fast include: if fasting causes real harm to the student's ability to study for or partake in examinations, and if studying must be performed during the month and cannot be postponed till after its end.
Every student is the judge of himself on whether fasting will affect their exam performance or not, Dar Al-Ifta stated.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith and must be observed by all able-bodied adult followers. However, the religion permits followers not to fast under certain circumstances such as travelling long distances, pregnancy, war, illnesses or old age.
Those who do not fast for any mitigating reason must make up lost days during the rest of the year. Those who cannot fast at all, for example due to a medical condition, can instead feed a poor person for a month.
Ramadan, the ninth on the Islamic lunar calendar, lasts 29 or 30 days.