April 22, 2020
Mosques across the country had already been adapting to the pandemic by offering digital sermons and organizing community initiatives to help those in need
LONDON: Muslims in the UK will begin to observe Ramadan this Thursday or Friday, and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has released a set of guidelines to help them make the most of the holy month while under lockdown.
Usually a time for Muslims to come together with their friends and families to fast, pray and share meals, Ramadan 2020, the MCB has warned, “will feel very different.”
With the UK under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no Taraweeh prayers at mosques, no big iftar meals and no community talks or events. The MCB’s guidelines advise Muslims on how they can still make the most of the spiritual and social aspects of Ramadan while observing the UK government’s social distancing rules.
It suggests organizing Taraweeh at home as a family, streaming Islamic lectures and arranging virtual iftars through video-sharing apps.
The MCB also offers practical advice on navigating the holy month for Muslims working from home, their employers and managers, and students.
It recommends starting the day earlier to have a chance to rest before iftar, and suggests that breaks during the day could be timed around prayers.
On shopping, the handbook asks people to only buy food in reasonable quantities and leave enough to make sure everyone has what they need.
MCB Secretary-General Harun Khan said: “The message for this Ramadan is clear: Fast and pray at home and share Ramadan digitally. This is the way to help save lives. We must be sure to celebrate Ramadan in the safest way possible: In our homes.”
Mosques across the country had already been adapting to the pandemic by offering digital sermons and organizing community initiatives to help those in need.
But observing Ramadan under lockdown could still be a challenge for Muslims, as it is usually a vibrant and social time for large communities to come together across the country.
Despite the challenges though, Dr. Emman El-Badawy, an expert on Islamic jurisprudence, believes that the spirit of Ramadan will survive and may even be strengthened.
“So much of the essence of Ramadan can be maintained during isolation. The spiritual aspects may even be heightened for some of us, with less distractions than usual,” she said.
“The communal practices will be missed under the restrictions, for sure, but there are already great initiatives being built to help with this.”