Millions of Muslims worldwide will welcome Ramadan, the month of fasting and prayer, on Thursday night, April 23.
The holy month is usually marked with large gatherings in the mosque, as well as community iftar meals.
But this year, Ramadan will be completely different, as places of worship are closed due to COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures are likely to be in place for weeks to come.
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Forced to stay at home, imam Hamza from Dundee Central Mosque believes it could be a positive and different Ramadan after all.
“It is going to be quite different. The mosque plays a central role when it comes to Ramadan – we have an environment of praying together and having community iftars (evening meals) to break the fast together,” he told Evening Telegraph.
“It will be painful not to be able to come to the mosque – children look forward to coming and the elderly enjoy the social aspect of it too.”
He continued: “We have to make the most of this Ramadan.
“Fasting can be difficult, but with people now mostly working from home or on furlough, this is a chance to calm things down and relax. Fasting can be challenging and exhausting if you are working at the same time.
“Maybe people can explore some other aspects of Ramadan, like charity and caring for others.
“Traditionally the last 10 days are supposed to be spent in isolation to focus on ourselves – Mohammed and Moses received revelations when in solitude. In a way this Ramadan will have 30 days of isolation.”
Prayers & More
Ramadan will run from Thursday, April 23 until Saturday, May 23.
Though the closure of mosques is highly painful, it is an Islamic moral obligation to prevent the spread of the virus.
Several scholars have declared that the desire to perform prayers with a congregation in a mosque comes second to saving lives.
According to Islamic Relief, funds from the this year’s appeal will prioritize projects that support communities with water, food, and healthcare and those facing emergencies such as natural disasters or conflict.