Muslims will begin fasting of the Holy Month of Ramadhan on Friday under peculiar circumstances caused by restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-9) that paralyzed world economies.
During Ramadhan, Muslims fast during daylight hours and also congregate for prayers and share meals when breaking the fast. But because of the fast-spreading COVID-19, many of the rituals have been suspended.
The mosques will not be open for night Taraweeh prayers – performed only in Ramadhan, and Muslim leaders are encouraging the faithful to pray from their homes.
Saudi Arabia has also suspended the performance of the lesser pilgrimage (Umrah) to Makkah, and limited access to Islam’s two holiest mosques at Makkah and Madinah to only staff.
The Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje at a press conference on Wednesday asked Muslims to brave the tough times caused by COVID-19 and fulfill religious obligation of fasting the month of Ramadhan.
“Encourage the Muslims in your areas to conduct Adhan in the mosques as a reminder of prayer time more so in the month of Ramadhan. But remember to follow the presidential guidelines of not performing congregational prayers like Swalat Taraweeh as one of the measures in Fighting the spread of COVID 19,” Mubaje said.
He called on the government to support the poor, the needy and the vulnerable Muslims who are going to fast without Iftar provisions. Many of these, before COVID-19, would converge at mosques for Iftar meals.
Mubaje also wants Museveni to ease restrictions on the distribution of relief food to allow organizations and individual donors to take food packs to needy Muslims during Ramadhan.
He at the same time asked government to roll out the distribution of relief food to other parts of the country other than restricting it to Kampala and Wakiso.
“It is not only the people around Kampala who are suffering. We have received reports from Health workers from health facilities that there are people dying because of malnutrition. They are brought to the health facilities but when they are checked it is because they have not had something to eat that’s why they are weakening and some are reaching that point of leaving this world” said Mubaje.
He urged Muslims to bond with their families, and also condemned the increasing cases of domestic violence.