WHO issues Ramadan guideline, UAE issues Fatwas and Indian Islamic scholars appeal for a StayHome Ramadan

The holy month of Ramadan begins on April 23.

With just two days to the start of the 30-day fasting month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued guidelines in a 'Safe Ramadan Advisory' which include social distancing practices and virtual religious meets, keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed more than 1.5 lakh lives globally.

In its guidelines titled "Safe Ramadan practices in the context of the COVID-19", the WHO has stated that cancelling social and religious activities is a must to mitigate the impact on public health. 

The WHO guidelines advise Muslims all over the world to: 

  • Follow a standardised risk assessment exercise while taking a decision to either modify or cancel, or proceed with holding a mass gathering.​
  • Avoid physical contact. Use culturally and religiously sanctioned greetings that avoid physical contact, such as waving, nodding, or placing the hand over the heart.
  • Maintain safe physical distance even when offering 'zakah', or charity, to the needy.
  • Serve packed food while maintaining safe (3 feet or 1 metre) distance, instead of organising 'iftar' banquets.
  • Take extra precautions and avoid attending any gathering whatsoever if you are old or unwell.
  • Avoid all events or gatherings if you have pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension/diabetes.
  • Adopt virtual alternatives, for example, mediums such as television, radio or the internet, instead of mass gatherings.
  • Ensure proper physical hygiene such as hand washing – both inside and outside mosques, covered dustbins at venues to ensure safe disposal of tissues; regular cleaning of mosques and premises; and regular sanitisation of frequently touched objects such as light switches or staircase railings.
  • Follow a healthy diet and keep yourself hydrated at all times and eat fresh food items during the fasting period.

Although no studies have been performed on relating fasting with COVID-19, those infected with the virus must consult a doctor while keeping or breaking a fast, advised the WHO.

The UAE Council of Fatwa too has released guidelines for Muslims to follow during Ramadan. Photo Courtesy: Twitter
The UAE Council of Fatwa too has released guidelines for Muslims to follow during Ramadan. Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Meanwhile the UAE Council of Fatwa too has released guidelines for Muslims to follow during Ramadan. The Fatwas issued are as below: 

  • Though all adult Muslims must fast during the holy month, those who have symptoms of COVID-19 may choose not to fast during Ramadan.
  • Workers in the health sectors also have the right to choose not to fast during their work days.
  • Eid prayers may be performed at home, either individually or as a group with people living in the same house. 
  • Gatherings are prohibited.
  • Payment of 'zakah', or charity, to the needy can be paid earlier to help people in hard situations.​

In India too Islamic scholars from all schools of thought have appealed to Muslims to :

  • Offer prayers during the holy month of Ramadan at their homes,
  • Eat their pre-dawn meals and ‘Iftar’ meals at homes and
  • Not go to the mosque to break fast in view of the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus.​ ​