Coronavirus 'a valid excuse' to abandon fasting: Khamenei
Coronavirus 'a valid excuse' to abandon fasting, says Iran Supreme Leader
The fatwa was prompted by an enquiry on the issue of abstaining from food and drink during the Covid-19 crisis, which has gripped the Islamic Republic.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday issued a highly topical fatwa in which he addressed the all-important question of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported.
"No one is permitted to abandon the fast during the blessed month unless they are certain, beyond reasonable doubt, that fasting will lead to illness, worsen pre-existing illness, prolong the period of illness or delay access to treatment", the religious edict said, according to state media.
The move was prompted by an enquiry on the issue of abstaining from food and drink during the Covid-19 crisis, which has gripped Iran with official accounts of the country's grim death toll climbing above 5,000, and fears that true number is far greater.
"Fasting is a divine obligation. It is Allah's blessing upon his worshippers which lies at the foundation of a human's spiritual nobility and perfection," the fatwa said.
Anyone suffering from coronavirus symptoms, or any illness which could be impacted in the way described by the Shia Muslim spiritual leader, can make up for skipped fasts once they have recovered, the fatwa added.
Ramadan, which begins at sunset on Thursday, is traditionally a social time for Muslims where families gather to eat, socialise and pray together.
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