COVID-19: Govt urges Muslims not to hold ‘bukber’ (iftar) during Ramadan

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The Religious Affairs Ministry has urged Indonesian Muslims not to hold bukber, short for buka puasa bersama (breaking-of-the-fast gathering) activities during the upcoming Ramadan, as COVID-19 has spread to every province across the country.

The ministry also urged Muslims to do tarawih (Ramadan night prayers) and tadarus (Quran recital) at home.

Kamaruddin Amin, the ministry’s director general of Muslim community guidance, said he hoped people would obey the call.

“Tarawih should be performed at home, while Nuzulul Quran [the revelation day of the Quran] commemoration will be scrapped during this year’s Ramadan, as well as tadarus activities at mosques,” he said during a press briefing on Friday.

He added that practicing Ramadan traditions from home would not reduce the value of worship, as the country was in a state of emergency. “God will understand,” Kamaruddin went on to say.

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The ministry issued on Monday a circular containing prayer and worship guidelines for Muslims during this year’s Ramadan.
Aside from advising people not to participate in bukber, the ministry also called on people not to hold sahur (predawn meals) gatherings in the street. It also urged people not to perform itikaf (seclusion in a mosque).

Idul Fitri prayers, which are usually performed in a congregation, have also be prohibited, with a corresponding fatwa to be issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

The ministry also advised Muslims to hold halal bi halal (post-Ramadan gatherings) through video conference or social media platforms.

Indonesian health authorities had recorded at least 3,512 confirmed cases in all 34 provinces across the country as of Friday, with 306 deaths.

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