Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings to counter spread of coronavirus

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Muslims usually break the fast at sunset together with their families, go to the mosque to pray and spend maximum time with relatives.

Give Iftar and Sahur this Ramadan

Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person” Al-Tirmidhi

But with health experts recommending social distancing measures during the global coronavirus crisis, Egypt will ban any gatherings and public iftars, or fast-breaking meals, as well as collective social activities, the ministry of Islamic endowments said in a statement.

Typically mass iftars are held for poor people.

The ban will also apply to the seclusion of Itikaf when Muslims spend the last 10 days of the month in mosques to pray and meditate, the ministry said.

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Egypt has reported more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with more than 250 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
Egypt is home to some 100 million people and also the seat of the al-Azhar university, Egypt’s highest religious authority and one of the world’s most eminent seats of Sunni Muslim learning.

Ramadan will start around April 23 depending on the sighting of the moon marking the start of the month.
Egypt already last month ordered mosques and churches to shut their doors to worshippers. Prayer calls are broadcast via loudspeakers.

(Reporting by Nadine Awadalla and Ulf Laessing; editing by Grant McCool)

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