Likely on Friday next, the holy month of Ramadan will begin in the UAE. And as always, it is a time for reflection and privation, a time to consider self-improvement and heightened devotion and worship.
In normal times, it is a time of fasting during the day, and a time of coming together after sunset to break the fast together and pray in congregations. But these are not normal times.
Now, the normal challenge of Ramadan and abstinence is compounded by the need to maintain social distancing, to stay home, and to refrain from commingling.
Already prayers in a majority of mosques around the world is suspended. The faithful need to continue their prayers at home. Let this Ramadan help us and our families explore the true meaning of sacrifice and sobriety
That is not a negative — but a positive to be embraced. Faced with one of the most challenging health care crises in the last 100 years, the medical infrastructure around the world is struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 145,000 people have died, over 2 million people are infected with coronavirus, and millions more are at risk.
Hundreds of researchers, scientists and experts are at work to come up with a vaccine that proves to be a cure to this disease. And till the time such a cure is found, authorities are urging upon everyone to maintain social distancing.
Break the curve
That, along with proper hygiene, like washing and sanitising your hands regularly, is currently the only way we can possibly ‘break the curve’ of infection and allow our doctors and paramedics to respond to this outbreak.
It is true that the month of fasting has a profound and deeply spiritual meaning for Muslims across the world. But caution is the word here. We are at a critical stage in our fight against COVID-19 and any negligence at this stage can prove fatal.
Taraweeh at home
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance has already gone ahead and announced that Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan may only be performed at home as the suspension of prayers at mosques would not be lifted until the end of coronavirus.
Similarly Jordan’s Awqaf ministry too announced that performing Taraweeh prayers in mosques will not be allowed during Ramadan in a bid to help fight the spread of the pandemic.
Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged her fellow citizens to perform prayers in their homes during Ramadan. Other nations are likely to follow suit. It indeed is a prudent decision.
Already prayers in a majority of mosques around the world is suspended. The faithful need to continue their prayers at home. Let this Ramadan help us and our families explore the true meaning of sacrifice and sobriety.