With barely a few days to go for the holy month of Ramzan to begin, Muslims across the world and in India have started preparing for how they should go about praying, fasting while maintaining social distancing due to the COVID-19 threat.
The main questions involve congregational taraweeh prayers that are held in mosques at night all through Ramzan and Iftar the ritual opening of the fast at dusk, which for many takes place at mosques.
Religious Leaders Appeal
India’s most prominent Muslim scholars and community leaders belonging to all major schools of thought have appealed to Muslims on how they can observe all the requirements of Ramzan, while staying indoors and observing lockdown norms.
They have come up with a few simple guidelines:
- Everyone should pray at home. Only those managing the mosque (such as the Imam and the Muezzin) will pray at the mosque. This routing had been underway since the lockdown was imposed and will continue during Ramzan untill the lockdown is lifted.
- Arrange for Taraweeh prayers at home. They should be done only with members of the household. Don’t gather neighbours and people living nearby.
- Sehri (pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (ending of the fast at dusk) should both be done at home.
- Avoid Iftar parties and dinner parties.
- Don’t throng marketplaces during Ramzan, avoid pre-Iftar shopping.
- Avoid roaming around at night during Ramzan.
- Focus on reciting and understanding the Holy Quran
- Help relatives and those in need and give generously in charity.
This appeal has been issued by Maulana Mahmood Madani (General Secretary, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind), Maulana Arshad Madani (Head, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind), Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan (President Muslim Ittehad Parishad, Bareilly), Maulana Wali Rahmani (General Secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board), Syed Sadatullah Hussaini (Head, Jamaat-e-Islami Hindi), Maulana Asghar Imam Salafi (Head, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith), Dr Zafarul Islam Khan (Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission), Maulana Mohsin Taqvi (Imam, Shia Juma Masjid, Delhi), Mufti Mohammad Mukarram (Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Masjid, Delhi), Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rehmani (Secretary, Islamic Fiqh Academy, Hyderabad), Maulana Syed Salman Nadwi (In-charge Jamia Syed Ahmed Shaheed, Malihabad), Mohammad Tanweer Hashim (Sajjada Nashin, Khanqah Hashmiya, Bijapur), Maulana Hafiz Syed Athar Ali (in-charge Jamia Mohammadiya, Mumbai), Maulana Shabbir Nadwi (In-charge, Madrasa, Islah al-Banaat, Bengaluru), Maulana Mufti Mahfozurrahman Usmani (In-charge, Jamia Al Qasim, Supaul), Mujtaba Farooq (General Secretary, All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat) among others.
In Hyderabad, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi and community leaders of the various schoolds of thought among Muslims have appealed people to observe Ramzan from home.
AlUDF chief and MP from Dhubri in Assam issued a similar appeal in his interview to The Quint.
But it isn’t just religious and political leaders who are issuing such appeals. Even a social media campaign is being carried out, with images like this one going viral.
Similar appeals were issued in the run-up to Shab-e-Baraat earlier this month and it had a very positive impact as there were hardly any reports of people stepping out of their homes.
These efforts come at a difficult time for Muslims, when they have had to face attacks in different parts of India due to propaganda that the community is to blame for the spread of COVID-19.
“We issued the appeal to keep people safe from COVID-19 but also we are aware of the fact that any small mistake by even a single Muslim will be blown out of proportion and used to target the entire community. We hope Ramzan brings mercy to everyone in the country,” said one of the religious scholars involved in the appeal.