Palestinian clerics ban all divorces during Ramadan

Palestinian clerics ban all divorces during Ramadan
Palestinian judges were ordered on Sunday not to grant divorces over Ramadan to avoid "quick and ill-considered decisions" during the month-long fast.
2 min read
29 May, 2017
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset [AFP]

The head of Palestinian Islamic courts on Sunday told judges not to grant divorces over Ramadan, fearing the month-long fast could spark rash words that would be regretted later.

Judge Mahmud Habash said he based his ruling on "the experience of previous years" when he found that the dawn-to-dusk fast and ban on cigarettes, which began on Saturday, tended to lead to frayed tempers and sharp tongues.

"Some, because they have not eaten and not smoked, create problems" in their marriages, he said in a statement, and they can make "quick and ill-considered decisions".

According to the Palestinian Authority, 50,000 weddings were celebrated in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 2015, but more than 8,000 divorces were also registered.

Endemic unemployment and poverty are said to be major contributing factors.

There is no civil marriage or divorce in the Palestinian territories, where only religious courts have those powers.

During Ramadan, Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset.

Children, the elderly, the sick, women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating, and people who are travelling are exempt from the ban.

For Muslims, fasting is not an act of penitence, but a method of self-purification, both physical and spiritual, as well as a way of showing solidarity with the less fortunate. For many believers, it is also an asceticism that brings spiritual elevation and the collective affirmation of faith.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity and performing the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.

Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with a three-day holiday named Eid al-Fitr, the Arabic words for "festival of breaking the fast".

[Click to enlarge]

Agencies contributed to this report.