Closure of mosques during Ramadan ‘extremely painful’ but a ‘moral obligation’

Mosque buildings will remain closed to the public during Ramadan following the Government’s decision on extending the lockdown, according to the Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board (Minab).

The board said in a statement that it is “going to be extremely painful and emotionally challenging not to be able to pray together in mosques or hold iftar events in the spirit of Ramadan”.

“But we have a religious and moral obligation to protect life and follow the medical advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Imam Qari Asim, chairman of Minab, said: “It would be deemed extremely irresponsible to congregate for night prayers (tarawih prayer) or hold religious gatherings during this Ramadan in any mosque or houses with people who are not members of the immediate household.

“During the epidemic, the desire to perform prayers with a congregation in a mosque comes second to saving lives.

“We applaud the efforts of imams and mosques, across the country, that have continued to provide religious and spiritual guidance through online and creative ways, whilst the doors of mosques sadly remain closed during this period.”

The beginning of the month of Ramadan will be confirmed upon sighting of the new moon, which is expected on April 23.

Ramadan is also a time when people give zakat, or alms,  and the charity Islamic Relief UK said it is pushing ahead with its Ramadan appeal.

File picture of thousands of people attending Birmingham’s Eid celebration of the end of Ramadan (Joe Giddens/PA)

It said funds from the this year’s appeal will prioritise projects that support communities with water, food and healthcare and those facing emergencies such as natural disasters or conflict.

Islamic Relief said it will also distribute food parcels in 31 of the world’s poorest countries including Syria, Yemen, Bangladesh and Somalia, following social distancing guidelines, as well as support vulnerable communities in the UK.

Tufail Hussain, director of Islamic Relief UK, said: “Ramadan is a time for British Muslims to thank Allah for our good fortune and to reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves.

“In this current crisis with so many communities coming together to help one another, your Zakat will help make a difference to the most needy, and is safe with Islamic Relief.”

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