Ramadan will be different for all the Muslims all around the world this year in the midst of a pandemic. Muslims around the world will observe the holy month of Ramadan under lockdown and tight restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak that has brought a stop to the whole world.
Ramadan, which starts this week, is usually a time marked by fasting, communal worship, charity, prayers, and meals.
But as the lockdown continues, and mosques remain closed, and religious leaders all around the world are finding ways of doing things. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam: the others are the Profession of Faith, prayer, charity, and the pilgrimage to Hajj.
Many Muslims believe fasting also helps in bringing them closer to the poor and those who feel hunger on a regular basis. The first day of Ramadan is going to be most likely to be Friday, April 24 in most of the Arab nations, Europe and America. But in South Asia, the first day of Ramadan is most likely to be Saturday, April 25.
During Ramadan, two main meals are served to begin and end the daytime fast. “Suhoor” is served and eaten before dawn, and “Iftar,” is served and eaten after sunset. Traditionally these meals are enjoyed in group gatherings among family and friends.
During the month, Muslims also try to practice “zakat,” or charity, another one of the five pillars of Islam. Which is given to the poor people every year. It is considered very important in Islam so that the poor people might not feel left alone.
The three most important sites of Islamic world Makkah, Medina, and Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, will be empty during Ramadan after authorities advised worshipers to pray at home.
For Muslims, a big part of the holy month consists of special night prayers called “Taraweeh,” which are held daily at the mosque after Isha and performed by the imam. But this time it will be different and mosques will be empty as most of the Muslim countries all around the world have advised the Muslims to pray at home rather than at mosques.
Month-long Ramadan bazaars with stalls selling food, drinks, and clothes, usually busy sites, are not allowed this time in most of the Muslim countries. Meanwhile, as food consumption usually rises in Ramadan, there are concerns about panic buying and supplies running low due to the lockdowns all around the world.
The Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated as an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries.
With lockdown measures in place and large gatherings banned, this year’s festivities will be scaled down. Nothing can be said yet if nations will lift or ease lockdown measures for Eid. Even if the restrictions are eased down Eid al-Fitr still won’t be the same.