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Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta says publicly violating fast is 'assault on sanctity of Islam'

Social media users in the country have criticised the statement, saying that the edict infringes on personal freedoms

Ahram Online , Monday 6 Jun 2016
Dar Al Ifta
File photo of Egypt's Islamic authority (Dar Al-Ifta). (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta, the official authority responsible for issuing religious edicts (or fatwas) for Muslims in the country, described the act of "openly violating the fast" as "chaotic and an assault on the sanctity of Islam."

Monday in Egypt marks the first day of the Holy month of Ramadan, where able-bodied, observant Muslims refrain from eating, drinking or smoking during daylight hours.

Dar Al-Ifta, whose Facebook page responds to users' inquiries about Islam, said in public post that "to publicly violate the fast in Ramadan is a sin, as it is a violation of etiquette in Muslim countries."

Social media users in the country have criticised the statement, saying that the edict infringes on personal freedoms.

This is not the first time Dar Al-Ifta has released such a statement, as it echoes edicts on fasting made by the authority in recent years.

Edicts issued by Dar Al-Ifta are not legally binding, and violators would not face any legal sanctions.

While there is no law in Egypt prohibiting citizens from breaking the fast, it was reported in the past years that police shut down cafes that operated during fasting hours and arrested pedestrians for violating fast during daylight hours.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith and must be observed by all able-bodied adult followers.

However, followers are not required to commit to the fast under certain circumstances, including travelling long distances, pregnancy, war, illness or old age.

Those who do not fast for any mitigating reason must make up for 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 one month.

Public eating and drinking in daylight hours during Ramadan has been a recurrent subject of media debate over the past years.

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