Muslims try to keep Ramadan spirit amid virus restrictions


Suggested reading by the Muslim Times: When Not Going to Jumma is a Huge Blessing


BAHTIM, Egypt (AP) — Every year during Ramadan, the Light of Muhammad Mosque sets up long tables on the street and dishes up free meals at sunset for the poor to break their daily fast. It’s a charity that many rely on in this impoverished district on the edge of the Egyptian capital.

But it’s too dangerous in this era of the coronavirus — in Egypt and in many Muslim countries, such “Tables of the Compassionate” have been barred.

So the mosque, which like others in Egypt had to shut its doors as a precaution against the virus, will use the funds that would have gone into the free communal tables to distribute packed meals and cash to those in need.

“We hope this could ease their suffering,” said Sheikh Abdel-Rahman, the muezzin of the mosque in the district of Bahtim.

As Ramadan begins with the new moon later this week, Muslims around the world are trying to maintain the cherished rituals of Islam’s holiest month without further spreading the outbreak.

At the heart of Ramadan is the sunrise-to-sunset fast, meant to instill contemplation of God. But alongside the hardship of abstaining from food and drink for hours every day, the month sweeps everyone up into a communal spirit. Families and friends gather for large meals at sunset, known as iftars. In some countries, cafes and cultural events are packed late into the night. Worshippers go to mosques for hours of evening prayers, or “taraweeh.” Many devote themselves to charity.

Muslims now find themselves cut off from much of what makes the month special as authorities fight the pandemic. Many countries have closed mosques and banned taraweeh to prevent crowds. Prominent clerics, including in Saudi Arabia, have urged people to pray at home.

Governments are trying to balance restrictions with traditions.

Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Egypt loosened their curfews, moving them back to start anywhere from a half hour to 90 minutes after sunset. That gives time to get to Iftar, but not much: people can’t go too far to visit others for the meal unless they’re prepared to stay the night.

Other countries have banned long internal travel. Syria gave people a window of two days this week to move between provinces, then restored its ban.

In Malaysia, Mohamad Fadhil said he was resigned to missing out on the surge in business at the Ramadan bazaar, where he and other sellers hawk food and drinks in crowded open-air markets. The bazaars have been shut down.

Read further


Dr. Zia H Shah, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times and in charge of health section

Suggested reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times about Fundamentalism in all Abrahamic Faiths:

‘God Created the Virus. But Now He Has Lost Control.’

‘God is with us’: Many Muslims in Pakistan flout the coronavirus ban in mosques

When Not Going to Jumma is a Huge Blessing

Maulana Abdul Aziz, 6 others booked for violating govt order

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli town of Bnei Brak under lockdown

Virus Soars Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews as Many Flout Israel’s Rules

India confronts its first coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ — a Muslim missionary group with more than 400 members infected

Pastors sue California governor over coronavirus restrictions on church gatherings

Suggested reading for the 21st century understanding of God and religion:

Answering the Question of Suffering for Sir David Attenborough

A Slight Twist Makes David Attenborough a Great Teacher for God of the Abrahamic Faiths

Corona — our debt to Darwin

Everything is a Miracle According to the Holy Quran and Albert Einstein

Corona Fear’s Cure: Chanting from the Bible and the Quran

A New Commentary of the Holy Quran Emphasizing Compassion, Justice and Human Rights Launched

Categories: Fundamentalism, Health

6 replies

  1. As salamu alaikum.

    I’m glad to see Dr. Zia H Shah’s Muslim Times is still in operation. I’ve been “off the grid” and haven’t seen The Muslim Times magazine in a number of years. I’ve always enjoyed the magazine’s content.

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