Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Munibur Rehman issued a fatwa on Wednesday claiming it was permissible to break one’s fast under extraordinary circumstances, such as the heatwave affecting parts of Pakistan, Express News reported.
“This year the heat is unbearable and if people are feeling sick they should break their fast,” Mufti Munibur Rehman said.
The fatwa comes as the death toll from the deadly heatwave in Karachi surpasses 800.
The heat wave coincided with severe power outages and the Holy month of Ramazan, when most Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours.
Many of the deaths, among the elderly and poor in Karachi, were caused by dehydration.
The government has demanded urgent action to deal with the crisis, and the administration in Sindh province declared Wednesday a public holiday to encourage people to stay indoors out of the sun.
Some residents on Tuesday took to hosing each other down with water to avoid collapsing from heat stroke.
A state of emergency is in force in hospitals which are struggling to cope with the 3,000 people affected by heatstroke and dehydration.