Islam is the official religion of Kuwait. Muslims make up approximately 85% of Kuwait’s total population, with Christians, Hindus, Parsi and other religions accounting for the remaining 15%.
Kuwait has almost 1000 mosques, from the simple to the elaborate, with the Grand Mosque, located in Kuwait City, covering an internal area of 20,000 square metres.
Muslims are required to carry out formal prayer five times a day according to the position of the sun; before dawn, at noon, during the afternoon, after sunset and in the evening. Calls to prayer emanate from loudspeakers at every mosque, reminding the faithful of prayer times.
The numerous mosques throughout Kuwait ensure that all Muslims have easy access to somewhere to pray, although women generally tend to pray at home. However, it is not uncommon to see the faithful praying at the side of the road or in the desert, and in prayer rooms located in shopping malls, hospitals and offices. Friday is the Islamic holy day and Muslims make a special effort to ensure that they pray at a mosque for the lunchtime congregational prayers.
Islam has Five Pillars : Testimony of Faith, Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving and Pilgrimage. Every Muslim who is financially and physically able is expected to make the pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lifetime.
Kuwait is tolerant of many other religions, a number of which are allowed to practice freely .
Kuwait maintain a strong relationship with the Vatican .
The Holy Month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the month that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Special night-time prayers throughout Ramadan ensure that the mosques are particularly active.
Ramadan is a period of fasting during which all Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity during daylight hours. Pregnant women, children, the sick, and those traveling are the only exceptions. Westerners are expected, as a matter of respect, to comply with the requirements of the fast. It is a punishable offence to be caught breaking the fast between dusk and dawn; the penalty is jail for the remainder of Ramadan
Each day at sunset the fast is broken with ‘Iftar’, traditionally consisting of dates and water or sweet laban, a type of drinking yoghurt. Iftar times are published in the newspapers and are announced by mosques. The main meal of the day (Ghabgha) is enjoyed later in the evening. Many of the five-star hotels erect Ramadan tents specifically for this feast, and lay out a traditional buffet. This is a meal to be enjoyed slowly, followed by Arabic coffee, dates and shisha smoking. It is a time to sit with family and friends and enjoy Ramadan atmosphere.
Office and Ministry hours change during Ramadan, as do the timings for all retail outlets. The roads become extremely congested at 1pm, when the Ministries and government organizations tend to close. Ramadan culminates in a three-day celebration called Eid Al Fitr - feast of the breaking of the fast.
National flag and the emblem
The Kuwaiti flag has taken different shapes and sizes, since the establishment of Kuwait until 1961, when the government found it necessary to replace the old flag with a new one as an emblem of Kuwait's independence. Thus, a law was promulgated to replace the old flag with a new one on 7/9/ 1961, (corresponding to 27 Rabbi AI-Awl 1381 A.H.). On 18/11/1961, (10 Jamada AI¬Akher 1381 A.H.), some provisions of that law were amended. The first article of that law stipulated that Kuwait national flag should consist of a horizontal rectangle, which is twice as long as it's width. And this width is to be divided into three equal horizontal stripes; the top of which is to be green, the middle white, and the bottom red, with the side next to the flag's pole forming the base of a black trapezoid equal in size to the width of the flag, and its small base equal to the width of the white color stripe, and its height equals the quarter of the flag's length.
As for the emblem of the State of Kuwait, which portrayed a falcon and two intersecting flags standing on a helmet, it persisted until 1963, when the Cabinet decided to replace it with a new emblem. The new emblem of the State of Kuwait represents a falcon with outstretched wings embracing a boom (a small boat), sailing on blue and white waves. It symbolizes Kuwait's maritime tradition.
The National Anthem
After the proclamation of Kuwait's independence, the Kuwait national anthem was written by the poet Meshari Al-Adwani and was broadcast for the first time on 25 February 1978. The music was composed by Ibrahim Al-Soula and arranged by Ahmad Ali. The Amiri Salute was composed by Yusuf Adees in 1951 and was used until February 1978.The National Salute consists of the first six bars of the National anthem.
The words of Kuwait national anthem are:
Kuwait, My Country, May you be safe and glorious!
The Issue and Circulation of the Kuwaiti Currency Notes and Coins shall be subject to the stipulations of Law No. ( 32 ) of the year 1968 concerning Currency, the Central Bank of Kuwait and the Organization of Banking Business. The issue of the Kuwaiti Currency is the exclusive privilege of the State of Kuwait and shall be exercised solely and exclusively by the Central Bank of Kuwait .
The first issue of the Kuwaiti Currency was put into circulation in April, 1961. The unit of currency shall be the Kuwaiti Dinar and shall be divided into One Thousand Fils .
The Central Bank of Kuwait may issue currency bank notes in the following denominations: Quarter Dinar, Half Dinar, One Dinar, Five Dinars, Ten Dinars, Twenty Dinars. There have been five consecutive issues of the Kuwaiti Currency issued since the beginning of placing the Kuwaiti Currency in circulation. The Fifth Issue is the only currently circulating currency of the state of Kuwait . As far as the coins are concerned, no changes have so far been made since the day it was issued and dealt with as of April 1, 1961. The units of these coins are as follows : One Fils, Five Fils, Ten Fils, Twenty Fils, Fifty Fils, One Hundred Fils. it is worth mentioning that during the Iraqi occupation of the State of Kuwait, among other items the Iraqi occupiers stole large sums of Third Issue of Kuwaiti Notes, that were never placed onto circulation until that time , from the vaults of the Central Bank of Kuwait . In line with Law No. ( 2A/90 ), the Ministerial Decisions Nos. ( 1A/90 ) and ( 2A/90 ) were issued to determine the serial numbers of these currency bank-notes. Thus, the Central Bank of Kuwait will no way exchange these stolen currency notes, in implementation of Clause ?2î of Article (10) of Law No. (32) of the year 1968 mentioned here in above.
The First Issue of the Kuwaiti Currency was put into circulation by the Kuwait Currency Board on Saturday, April 1, 1961, replacing the then circulation currency such as the ? Indian Rupee. The First Issue was withdrawn from circulation effective Monday, February 1, 1982, and ceased to be legal tender on Monday, May 31, 1982.The right of Exchanging these currency notes at the Central Bank of Kuwait expired on Saturday, February 1, 1992 .
The Second Issue of the Kuwait Currency was put into circulation by the Central Bank of Kuwait with denominations of KD. 1/4, 1/2 and 10 on Tuesday November 17, 1970, and denominations of KD. 1 and KD. 5 on Tuesday, April 20, 1971. The Second Issue was withdrawn from circulation effective Monday , February 1, 1982, and ceased to be legal tender on Monday, May 31, 1982. The right of Exchanging These currency notes at the Central Bank of Kuwait expired on Saturday, February 1, 1992.
The Third Issue of the Kuwaiti Currency was put onto circulation by the Central Bank of Kuwait on Wednesday, February 20, 1980, in the denomination KD. 10, 5, 1, 1/2 and 1/4 On Monday, January 27, 1986, a new currency note in the denomination of KD. 20 was issued and placed into circulation on Sunday, February 9, 1986. The Third Issue was withdrawn from circulation effective Sunday, March 24, 1991, and ceased to be legal tender after 45 days of withdrawal, as an exceptional case, due to the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The right of exchanging these currency notes at the Central Bank of Kuwait expired on Saturday, September 30, 1991. ( Refer to "Introduction" ).
The Fourth Issue of the Kuwaiti Currency was put into circulation by the Central Bank of Kuwait on Sunday, March 24, 1991, soon after the liberation of The State of Kuwait, in order to speed up the exchange process of the withdrawn Third Issue notes, as well as to ensure the continuous speedy recovery of the economy. The Fourth Issue was withdrawn from circulation on Wednesday, August 17, 1994, and ceased to be legal tender effective Tuesday, February 16, 1995. The right of exchanging these currency notes at the Central Bank of Kuwait will expire on Monday, August 16, 2004.
The Fifth Issue of the Kuwaiti Currency was placed into circulation effective Sunday, April 3, 1994. It is the current circulating currency of the State of Kuwait with high level technology utilizing technical features and security development realized by the Bank Note printing industry .