Muslims around the world are preparing to face tough challenges for the holiest month of the year. There is a bit of uncertainty associated with observing Ramadan 2020 with all its zeal due to the coronavirus outbreak. Governments have implemented lockdown procedures and closed down many businesses, schools and also worship places.
The holy month will start around 24th April and end around 23rd May, following the Eid-Ul-Fitr. If the lockdown persists, modern Muslims would come across some unique challenges.
Challenges For Muslims During Ramadan 2020
This time Muslims will face trouble in remaining in the usual spirit of Ramadan because communal activities are banned. The holy month encourages Muslims to think about their families and people who do not have enough to survive. Since, there will be need of helping others more than ever during Ramadan 2020 muslims will need to donate more (while making sure that there are no communal gatherings something which manifests in community Suhoor and Iftars)
Muslims visit each other and practice tasty and healthy ways to eat food during Ramadan. And now during the outbreak, the needs and demands of food and clothing would be increased.
Another big challenge faced by Muslims during Ramadan 2020 is the closure of Mosques. Most of the Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia (the place from where Islam originated) have already banned communal prayers in mosques in an attempt to control coronavirus pandemic.
Mosques are allowed to host maximum five people for congregational prayers. The participants will only consist of administration of Mosque.
Usually, in Ramadan there is more influx of devotees who go there to offer prayers five times in a day and also to pray Taraweeh ( A special prayer during Ramadan which is an important part of this month)
But Due to the current circumstances, Muslims will have to sacrifice some of these valued activities to stay safe from the contagious disease. So this year chances are high that there will be no communal Taraweeh in most of the countries
Taking Care of Self And Others
The Holy month of Ramadan was already a challenge for modern Muslims because of many reasons. These hilarious memes on the struggle of Muslims explain the situation perfectly. Many people feel like eating all the time in quarantine; during the month of habbit they will have to change that habbit. During the Ramadan 2020 People will not be able to go out to spend time with friends while waiting to sink their teeth in food again at iftar time.
For Muslims, Ramadan is not only about fasting and abstaining from sin, it is also about feeding the homeless and hungry, while experiencing fast.
While pandemic is indeed an obstacle in the way of communal prayers it can’t stop people from helping others (which is needed more this year).
Therefore, muslim communities all over the world have shown great compassion towards the underprivleged and malnourished people of thier community, during the outbreak. They plan to continue this initiative for Ramadan 2020 as well.
Mosques are also the epicentre of iftar for those who do not have enough resources to feed themselves and their families. If Mosques were open, the needy people would have joined other Muslims in a mass iftar but due to pandemic people would have to make attempts to personally reach those who need the help of their fellow brothers
How To Have Safe Congregational Prayer During Coronavirus Outbreak
It can be possible to offer prayers in Mosques if proper precautionary measures are implemented. There could be an arrangement of protective masks and sanitizer dispensers at the mosque gates. The prayer mats inside the Mosque can be disinfected on a regular basis. (which is not possible for all the mosques considering the lack of staff). Further it is not also possible for the state to check if all the mosques which are huge in number are implementing the SOPs are not.
Congregants are also suggested to maintain a safe distance on prayer mats. There can be a space of one row in between worshippers. Moreover, people can stand with a reasonable distance between them in their respective rows. If Mosques remain under lockdown during Ramadan 2020 then alternative ways of congregation could be used otherwise praying at home seems like the only option.
Making Use of Live Streaming Apps
One alternative method can include live audio/video streaming apps, where Imam can host a prayer by turning off the comments and sounds of other people. This way congregants can join and follow Imam online without getting interrupted by trolls.
There are many safe ways to worship during an outbreak because Muslims have absolute reference for a Deity they believe in; and they glorify Him regardless of the circumstances.