KOLKATA: Muslim religious figures have called for suspension of all congregational activities during the month of Ramzan that will start later this week. They have urged all members of the community to pray at home and follow the lockdown norms because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There will also be no month-long annual bazaars selling fruits and other Ramzan delicacies like halim in certain parts of the city, in keeping with social distancing norms during the lockdown.
Ramzan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar. Healthy adults are expected to fast from dawn until dusk. Other acts of worship such as prayer, reading of the Quran and charity are also encouraged during Ramzan.
“We are faced with an emergency situation that has made us change the way we pray and live our lives. To defeat the coronavirus and save our country, we must follow the lockdown norms and social distancing guidelines even during the month of Ramzan. There is no restriction on fasting and praying but we must do it inside our homes. Nobody should step out for any activity related to Ramzan except for emergency reasons,” said Qari Fazlur Rahman, a senior cleric who leads the Eid prayers at Red Road every year.
It is common for mosques to host iftars for the poor and needy. Special evening prayers called taraweeh are also held in mosques after iftar. Novel coronavirus has changed the way people worship. All mass prayers have been suspended including Friday prayers and Sunday congregations at the churches. Many people have also started praying online.
Governments across the world have urged Muslims to perform Ramzan taraweeh prayers (a special prayer after the breaking the fast) at home. In Kolkata too, nobody will be allowed inside the mosques to offer namaz or Taraweeh. “Only the imam and few functionaries will pray inside the mosque following social distancing ,” said Nasser Ebrahim, a trustee of Nakhoda Mosque.
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