With Ramadan one month away, people 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 Luis DiNiro said. “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 the UAE 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 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.”