Unlike every year when Ramzan street iftaar fare draws several people for gastronomic delights, this year, believers will have to observe the holy month in the confines of their homes, as per the instructions of the clerics from the community.
The Darul Uloom in Baroda has issued special instructions for the holy month in the context of fasting and the Taraweeh prayers — the additional hour long mandatory prayers performed at night during Ramzan.
The instructions issued by Mufti Arif Hakim Falahi state, “…Pray punctually five times a day at home and do not insist on going to Masjids. Taraweeh prayers can be performed at home itself along with family members. Do not congregate or gather in any house or place. Avoid roaming or wandering around during the holy month of Ramzan. Avoid using loudspeakers for awaking people for fast. Observe instructions of the government authorities with regards to permissible shopping hours for essential goods & items during lockdown. Avoid invitations and do not conduct Iftaar parties.”
Similar instructions have also been issued by clerics of other masjids in the city. Panigate Masjid Imam Mufti Imran also issued a video message urging community members to stay indoors.
In Surat too, major Sunni and Tablighi priests have appealed to people to to pray the Tarawee namaz at homes.
Mufti Kesar Alam of Khawaja Dana Darul Uloom, a centre of Sunni Muslim, said, “Seeing the present situation, we have appealed to all the Muslim community not to come out of the house and pray in mosque. At present, the central zone area of SMC is widely affected by coronavirus, so by praying at home, we can also keep ourselves safe and even others.”
Local Muslims in Vadodara are distributing Iftaar kits among the poor families in mixed neighbourhoods of the city. Trust like the Zidni Ilma has also received generous contributions from NRIs.
Zuber Goplani, a socio political activist, said, “We will distribute all kinds of items that people usually buy during Ramzan like dates, custard mix, ingredients for the falooda and gram flour for frying fritters that form part of the iftaaris. It has been observed across the world that this year Ramzan will have to be observed at home.”
Cricketer Irfan Pathan, who lives in Tandalja in Vadodara, urged Muslims to help the needy during Ramzan. Irfan shared a post on Twitter, advising people to pay off debts of their neighbours at local grocery stores. “Go to your nearest grocery store, see the list of people who owe them a debt and pay it off,” he said.
The Darul Uloom also asked people to “offer special prayers and invocations for the welfare of our country and the entire world during the holy month of Ramzan” and exhorts elders to “use their influence and guide young people to avoid engaging in activities that are harmful for the community and the nation”.
The lockdown will mean that the Ramzan night food bazaars will not open, especially in Rander in Surat, which is a containment zone.
Vadodara Commissioner of Police Anupam Singh Gahlaut said the department had requested Islamic clerics to make public appeals to the community to follow social distancing and avoid gatherings during Ramzan in view of COVID-19. Surat police commissioner R B Brahmbhatt has also appealed to people to stay indoors.
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