With Ramadan one month away, Muslims are taking to social media to share their thoughts and concerns about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect Islam’s holiest month.
The traditions of Ramadan, estimated to begin on April 23 this year, are centered on group gatherings: communal taraweeh prayers, the evening meal of iftar in which Muslims break their fast together, shared food and shisha in Ramadan tents and other religious and social events with family and friends.
But as countries around the world have moved to ban social gatherings to try and slow the spread of the new coronavirus, many Muslims have voiced their concerns about how they will practice Ramadan this year.
“During Ramadan I go to the masjid [mosque] every single day I try not to miss out,” Twitter user Luigi￼￼ @LuisDiNiro said, adding that, “This Ramadan unfortunately it seems like we will still be on lockdown and it’s depressing to even think about. May Allah swt allow us to have a normal Ramadan this year and end this pandemic.”
When Muslims pray in groups, also known as jamaa’a prayer, they line up, side-by-side, shoulders touching. But many Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia and Nigeria have currently suspended group prayers until further notice in line with coronavirus preventative measures.
If these measures last through the next month, taraweeh prayers in groups would also be banned, threatening a key practice of Ramadan.
Some are calling for people to comply with the new regulations now to slow the spread of coronavirus so that the quarantine requirements can be lifted before the beginning of the holy month.
“What is Ramadan without tarawih [taraweeh]?” Twitter user nhfyzahs@nhfyzahs asked. “Rethink the consequences if the quarantine is extended for two months, how about Ramadan? Decision is in your hand, use your common sense and maturity.”
Rethink the consequences if the quarantine extended for 2 months, how bout ramadan? Aidilfitri? Spm? All of that won’t happen if the quarantine extended. Decision is in your hand, use your common sense and maturity. What is ramadan without tarawih? ￼
“No taraweeh this Ramadan and Eid prayer too, this is so sad,” someone with username @jowharx said in a tweet. sm￼@jowharx
It is unknown how long countries will impose restrictions and measures. Many countries have been shut down until further notice.
Saudi Arabia on Monday implemented a curfew for 21 days. Nigeria also announced the shutdown of Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ogun State with a view to containing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The United Arab Emirates suspended flights to and from the country for at least two weeks as of Tuesday. Jordan has turned to the army to enforce its curfew law.
In all of these countries, it is unclear whether measures limiting public gatherings will still be in place by the beginning of Ramadan.
The new coronavirus has infected over 330,000 people globally and resulted in over 14,500 deaths as of Tuesday.
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