How Muslims are inaugurating Ramadan amid vaccination campaigns and restrictions
The Muslim world is receiving Ramadan with common prayers and other events marked by social distancing measures. This is the holy month for Muslims, in which fasting is practiced in commemoration of the first revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad. We abstain from drinking and eating, from dawn to dusk.
“American Muslims continue to be the target of bullying, bigotry, and hate crimes. These prejudices and these attacks are wrong, they are unacceptable and must stop,” wrote the US president in a message of greetings to all Muslims around the world. “No one in America should ever live-in fear of expressing their faith. And my administration will work tirelessly to protect the rights and safety of all.” President Joe Biden affirmed on Twitter.
Indonesian minister of religious affairs, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, announced the sighting of the new moon on live television on the evening of Monday, April 12. The Muslim clerical body stressed the importance of continuing the vaccination program. Although the faithful must abstain from eating and drinking during the day, the vaccine doses are injected into the muscles and not into the blood, so they do not invalidate fasting.
Indonesia, like most other Asian countries, has been experiencing an increase in cases of contagion for days, but the government has decided to ease some of the restrictions in place in light of the progress of the national vaccination campaign. The authorities have allowed the opening of the mosques for Ramadan starting today, allowing the meeting of the faithful in compliance with the minimum distances.
Last year, Ramadan coincided with the start of the pandemic and Indonesia’s places of worship remained closed. This year, the government will also allow rallies for Iftar – the evening meal – in restaurants, cafes, and shopping malls, which will be able to serve customers at a maximum capacity of 50 percent. The country intends to vaccinate two-thirds of its population of approximately 270 million people by the end of next year. The vaccine is free.
In Iraq, the government has extended the curfew in the month of Ramadan, while more and more infections are recorded. The Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment urged the authorities on Monday to extend it from 7 to 5 and to impose a full lockout on Friday and Saturday. If citizens do not comply with the restrictions, the curfew could become total. Shops and restaurants will remain open, but only for take-out. The vaccination campaign in Iraq began in early April with the arrival of vaccines from China.
Extensive sanitation operations in the days before the start of Ramadan in the most important mosques in Cairo. The Egyptian authorities have agreed to the celebration of tarawih, the sacred prayer that is recited from one hour after sunset until dawn, with restrictions on gatherings and duration.In Libya and Tunisia, Ramadan began amid partial closures and a severe economic crisis. Many families are being tested by rising prices, and the numbers of infections are now out of control. Both countries have started vaccination campaigns.
The Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, pardoned yesterday 553 detainees on the occasion of the start of the Islamic holy month. The gesture follows the similar decisions taken on Monday by the president of the Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and by the emirs of Sharjah and Ajman, respectively Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi and Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi. The total number of inmates pardoned in the country on the occasion of Ramadan, therefore, amounts to 1,253 so far.