(KUNA) The Lawful Moon Sighting Panel of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Justice announced Thursday night that the holy month of Ramadan, 1433 lunar Hijri calendar, will start tomorrow, July 20, 2012. The panel held a meeting under chairmanship of Chief of Appellate Court Justice Rashid Al-Sharrah and deputy chiefs of the Court of Cassation justices Youssef Al-Mottaw’ and Isaac Al-Kandry there this evening where it confirmed that the crescent of the Muslim’s month fasting was seen this evening. On this occasion, the panel congratulated HH the Amir, HH Crown Prince, HH Prime Minister, and the citizens of, and expatriates in, Kuwait, expressing best wishes for all.
Ramadan in Kuwait
In 2012, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on Friday, 20 July and to end around 28 days later (precise timings will depend on sighting of the new moon).
Ramadan is an important time for all Muslims. This note provides further background on Ramadan and its implications on people residing in Kuwait.
About Ramadan and Appropriate Behaviour
Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان) is an Islamic religious observance that generally falls during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar: the month in which the Qur’an, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the “Five Pillars of Islam” (the others being: 1. To testify that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammed is the Messenger of God; 2. To pray; 3 To pay alms; and 4. To perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) for those who can afford it physically and financially.
During Ramadan, observant Muslims not only abstain from food, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk, but in general practise restraint from all activities or behaviours that are not compatible with Islamic values. Muslims are instructed to behave more patiently and tolerantly than usual and more time is spent on religious instruction and reflection. Throughout Ramadan, there is an emphasis on communal values: people will invite guests to ‘breakfast’ (iftar) with them (at the time of the sunset ‘maghreb’ call to prayer and give alms to charity.
The end of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr) is one of the most important festivals in Muslim cultures: children will be bought new clothes and people will travel to visit friends and relatives.
As Kuwait is an Islamic country, and Ramadan is important both to Muslims’ religion and culture, it is imperative to behave appropriately.
The following issues should be borne in mind:
- Do not eat, drink or smoke in public view during daytime (including in your car). This is illegal and can get you arrested. Pregnant and nursing women, and young children are exempt from this provision, but discretion should be exercised.
- Avoid meeting Muslims in areas where people will be eating and do not offer them refreshments.
- Be aware that increased numbers of people will gather at mosques on Friday and after sundown. There will also be an increase in pilgrimages to shrines and holy places. Ramadan is a very social and communal time with a focus on celebrating together.
- Eating and drinking establishments will be closed during daylight hours. Please plan accordingly.
Non- fasting people should strictly observe Kuwaiti Law No. 24(1968) which prohibits eating, drinking or smoking in public during Ramadan fasting hours.
The Law stipulates the following:
Section One: A penalty of not more than one month detention and KD 100 fine (or either of these penalties) will be imposed on:
1. Anyone who publicly eats drinks or smokes during Ramadan fasting hours.
2. Anyone who forces, helps or induces such public display, with the possibility of closure of any public store facility used for such purpose for not more than 2 months
Section Two: The Minister of Interior has the authority to close down any public store/facility, as he deems necessary, to enforce the above law. Any store manager/owner who breaks this law shall be punished as stated above.
Wishing you all an enjoyable Ramadan!