Many of us in Kuwait are getting ready for Ramadan, expected to begin in the first week of May. Ramadan is a chance for many people who practice Islam to change their lives for the better, whether it is by detoxing, forgiving, quitting a bad habit or spending more time with family. What I love about Kuwait also is that we are very diverse, and this means if you want to – regardless of what your religion or belief is – you can also practice or experience Ramadan with the Muslims living in Kuwait.
I really do hope this year brings positive changes for everyone. For those who are new to Kuwait or not sure about the legal impacts that Ramadan brings, here is an article that may help you understand. Blessed Ramadan everyone!
Question: It is my first year in Kuwait working in a private sector and I have heard that our working hours will be less in Ramadan. Is this true? I am not a Muslim though – is this only for Muslims fasting?
Fajer: Yes, work hours are reduced in the private sector to six hours a day according to the labor law’s article 64, which states: “It is forbidden to allow workers to work for more than 48 hours per week or eight hours a day, except in such events as are specified in this law. Working hours during the month of Ramadan shall be equal to 36 hours per week” for employees working six days a week, ie six hours per day.
Eating in public
Question: As it is my first year in Kuwait in Ramadan, can you explain to me if I can eat in public before iftar? Is food available for purchase then?
Fajer: Food will be available before iftar time. There are legal restrictions on some restaurants, but this does not mean that food will not be available. Law no 44 of 1968 dictates punishments under the law for eating or drinking in public in Ramadan. The law states the following punishment:
Punishment up to KD 100 and/or jail for up to one month
i) for anyone who eats/drinks in public during daytime in Ramadan
ii) for anyone who assists anyone to eat/drink in daytime during Ramadan
The punishment is up to one month in jail. So theoretically speaking, someone may be jailed on the first day of Ramadan until Eid, but I would think that common practice has been to only impose a fine for first-time offenders.
Whether or not you can get deported for eating or drinking in public, under Kuwaiti law, you can get deported for committing any criminal offense – eating in public during daytime in Ramadan is a criminal offense. As for commercial businesses that are caught serving food/beverages to the public during daytime in Ramadan, they will be punished by having their business sites shut for two months.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed