Unprecedented virus lockdown as Muslims mark sombre Ramadan

Unprecedented virus lockdown as Muslims mark sombre Ramadan

Unprecedented virus lockdown as Muslims mark sombre Ramadan

"We are going to miss the uniqueness and togetherness of this month, during this period a lot of Muslims would have been trooping into mosques for salat and iftar but because of the novel CODVID-19, all mosques are shut down".

On Thursday, his government extended curbs on movement until May 12, cancelled popular evening bazaars and banned attendance at mosque prayers as well as travel back to people's hometowns.

"We just have to adjust and tune out minds to the realization that no condition is permanent and that time changes and this is where in Islam we don't procrastinate because today is for us tomorrow may not be for us", said Hajia Fati, a trader.

In neighboring Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population, President Joko Widodo repeated a call for people to work and pray at home during a national address.

Mohamad Shukri Mohamad, the top Islamic cleric in the conservative Malaysian state of Kelantan, planned to skip public prayers and family meals - even if it meant not seeing his six children and 18 grandchildren.

On the island of Java, Tatan Agustustani, 52, and his family were busy clearing furniture from their lounge room to make way for prayer mats. From mosques across the world, the familiar summons "come to pray" has been replaced by "pray at home".

Muslims in Japan are not planning to go to mosques for prayers or evening meals.

But that message appeared lost in Indonesia's sharia-ruled province of Aceh, as worshippers crowded into a mosque for tarawih prayers on the eve of Ramadan.

"We ask God to have mercy on us and all of humanity and to save us from this lethal pandemic", the imam said. "And since we're all in our homes, most of us, we don't always have to be online", she said. "But we will stay alert, like wearing a mask". But some religious groups strongly opposed the move.

The reputed All India Islamic Centre of religious teaching will livestream recitation of two chapters of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, from 8 p.m.to 10 p.m. each day.

"There should be no Roza Iftaar parties at all".

As Muslims in Canada and around the world prepare to observe the holy month of Ramadan, imams are going to extra lengths to ensure their congregations can remain connected and hopeful during the pandemic. "Instead that money should be used for food and rations for the poor".

And Pakistan has seen its mosques crammed in the lead-up to Ramadan with the faithful sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and paying little heed to social distancing.

Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria have partially eased the lockdown but Morocco has announced a night-time curfew for Ramadan as it steps up emergency measures to combat the virus.

In normal years during Ramadan Friday prayers Muslim worshippers gather by the tens of thousands on the tree-lined hilltop plateau that lies at the heart of Jerusalem's Old City and is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Still, Suleiman said he does worry that the shift to temporary virtual worship could lead to an eventual lack of interest for in-person prayer.

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