About 1.8 billion Muslims around the world are receiving Ramadan this year in a difficult time due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which has clouded Ramadan this year, according to Martin Bashir, the BBC’s religious affairs editor.
Most countries took precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, so mosques were closed and Tarawih prayers were prohibited, and they are now built in homes.
Evening gatherings of people together at breakfast time and banquet at the mass breakfast were banned, in which they used to renew the bonds of friendship and social compassion between them and provide assistance and charity to those in need.
The Corona virus affected the holiest Islamic sites. The Sacred Mosque in Mecca is silent, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina is closed, and the doors of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem are closed.
The drastic measures taken to combat the epidemic have overshadowed the usual religious ceremonies and rituals in the month of Ramadan, which begins today in most Arab countries.
“A prayer to raise the scourge”
In Saudi Arabia, the Saudi monarch, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, expressed his hope that “God will raise the scourge” that afflicts the kingdom and the world.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently faced serious challenges from its regional competitors in the region, due to the outbreak of the Coruna virus and the collapse of oil prices.
In a previous written speech, the king had expressed his “pain” for closing mosques during Ramadan.
From the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Saudi authorities hold Tarawih prayers that they broadcast to the Islamic world on television and on the Internet, but without prayers.
Across the kingdom, many will undergo a state of total closure, while people in some areas will be allowed to leave from 9 am to 5 pm local time.
Saudi Minister of Health Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said in a televised speech: “We are in one compound, we must apply the (rules) of social divergence to prevent the virus”, noting that the month of Ramadan abounds in social activities, and he expressed his hope that this month will be this year Different due to commitment to preventive measures and social separation.
“Praying at home”
In Egypt, Sheikh Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, called on Muslims to pray in their homes during the month of Ramadan, with mosques still closed in the context of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid 19 epidemic.
And al-Tayyib said: “Muslims receive the holy month of Ramadan this year with hearts full of pain and sorrow because of the stopping of prayers in mosques,” according to the Egyptian Middle East News Agency.
The Sheikh of Al-Azhar also called on Muslims to “ignore any calls that claim that fasting weakens the human immune system,” noting that such calls are strange and baseless, according to the agency itself.
The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Shawky Allam, said earlier that fear of an outbreak of Kovid 19 is not an excuse for not fasting during the month of Ramadan, noting that fasting “improves immunity.”
In the sprawling markets and streets of Cairo, with a population of about 23 million, and where traffic usually does not subside, the virus has had catastrophic consequences.
During Ramadan, vendors are accustomed to placing tables with dates, apricots, and dried fruits on which the fasters break their fast, in addition to displaying various forms of colored lanterns.
However, this year the authorities imposed a night curfew and banned group prayers and other activities.
“People do not want to visit the stores, they are afraid of the disease. This is the worst year ever. Compared to last year, we did not sell even a quarter of what we were selling,” said a store owner next to the historic Sayeda Zeinab Mosque, named Samir al-Khatib, to Reuters news agency.
Open the mall
In the United Arab Emirates, the emirate of Dubai decided to reopen shopping centers from midday until ten in the evening, taking into account only 30 percent of the capacity.
Abu Dhabi charities that provide breakfast to low-wage workers from Southeast Asia do not know what to do in light of the closure of mosques.
Because of the spread of the virus, Muhammad Aslam, an engineer from India who lives in a three-room apartment in downtown Abu Dhabi, along with 14 other people, told Reuters he was out of work.
Aslam was forced to rely on charitable donations in his food due to the closure of the apartment in which he lives, after it was confirmed that a resident of the building was infected with the virus.
Closing procedures extended
In Algeria, the Minister of Health ruled out lifting the closure during Ramadan, although the authorities later announced a slight relaxation of curfew hours.
Restaurant owners in Algeria also ask how to provide breakfast to the needy, and their restaurants are closed.
Yamen Hermach, a 67-year-old Algerian woman, used to receive relatives and neighbors at her house for tea and refreshments during Ramadan.
“We may not visit them and they will not come,” she told Reuters, crying. “The Corona virus made everyone afraid, even of distinguished guests.”
Lebanon is likely to extend the closing procedures until May 10, while Kuwait extended the curfew for three hours. Oman strengthened the ban on mass rallies and group activities during the month of Ramadan.
Easing the curfew
Some countries have relaxed the strict measures adopted earlier in conjunction with the advent of the fasting month.
Syria, Egypt and Mauritania eased curfew hours to start after breakfast.
Jordan decided to ease curfews in several cities, most notably Aqaba, Karak, Tafila, and Maan.
The Palestinian Authority approved economic and other facilities that included movement and movement.
The Tunisian government announced that the partial curfew during Ramadan would be reduced from 12 to 10 hours.
The Yemeni authorities also decided to lift the curfew in the Hadramaut Governorate in the east of the country.
In Iraq, the capital, Baghdad, and a number of governorates witnessed a partial lifting of the curfew, allowing some sectors to resume work within specific hours.
On the other hand, Qatar said that congregational prayer would be permitted in the Grand Mosque, “Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab.”
The World Health Organization had warned against the sudden lifting of general isolation measures to contain the Coronavirus, and said that if the restrictions were eased prematurely, the epidemic might spread again.
The director of the organization, Tedros Adhanum, has said that the worst is yet to come regarding the outbreak of the Corona virus.
Fasting during the epidemic
There are some things to consider when it comes to fasting during an outbreak, because resistance to infection requires a lot of energy, according to University of Sussex immunologist Dr. Jenna McCucci.
Not eating or drinking for a long time can weaken the immune system.
So it is important to make sure you get enough calories during the hours that you are allowed to eat and drink, including enough carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins such as vitamin C, iron, various vegetables, fruits and legumes.
Dr. McCucci says that eating or eating too much affects the immune system, and you can help yourself stay in an “energy balance”.
Another risk is that dehydration can affect mucus which acts as a protective barrier in your airway.
It is also advised to take care of other aspects of your health by trying to get enough sleep, exercise and de-stress whenever possible, as these factors can help in maintaining the efficiency of the immune system.