The Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) was established in 1945 and has about 2,400 employees. Article 2 of Kuwait’s Constitution stipulates that “The religion of the State of Kuwait is Islam and Islamic Shari’a (law) is the main source of legislation”. Article 35 says that the freedom of belief is absolute. The state protects the freedom of religion in accordance with established customs provided it does not conflict with public policy or morals.
The Ministry of Awqaf represents the religious forum of Kuwait and has worked hard to fulfil many of its objectives at both local and international levels. At the local level, the Ministry takes care of the mosques, supervising and preparing them for worshippers. The Ministry hires imams, khateebs (preachers) and muezzins (callers to prayer).
The Ministry also directs people in legal matters, answering their queries and provides legal opinions on personal as well as juristic issues.
At the international level, the Ministry supports Islamic centres, schools and institutes throughout the world through moral or material support. It offers them direct assistance, receives visiting delegates and organises public donations. It also supervises the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, the most important place of worship for Muslims.
The Ministry supports Islamic religious occasions by printing and distributing books on Islamic culture. It also prepares religious informative programmes for television during the month of Ramadan and other religious occasions such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and Haj.
In addition, the Ministry organises lectures and symposia in coordination with other government agencies such as the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, the Amiri Guard, Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and the Ministry of Education.