As Muslims around the world will be observing “a very different” Ramzan amid a devastating COVID-19 pandemic, UN chief has said the Islamic tradition of hospitality and generosity is a “remarkable lesson” at a time when people in conflict zones and vulnerable populations face dire consequences. Ramzan is the holiest month in Islam, when devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It will begin this week, depending on the sighting of the moon.
“This will, of course, be a very different Ramzan. Many community activities will naturally be affected by measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday in his Ramzan message.
He said as millions of Muslims around the world begin observing the holy month of Ramzan, many people in conflict zones will once again be “tragically” marking this month with war and insecurity all around.
Underscoring that Ramzan is about supporting the most vulnerable, Guterres expressed appreciation for governments and people throughout the Muslim world who live by their faith, “supporting those fleeing conflict in the best Islamic tradition of hospitality and generosity a remarkable lesson in this world where so many doors have been closed to those in need of protection, even before COVID-19.”
Recalling his recent appeal for an immediate global ceasefire to focus on the novel coronavirus, the world’s common enemy, Guterres said he repeats that appeal as he quoted words of the Holy Quran “and if they incline to peace, then incline to it”.
Muslims around the world will observe the holy month of Ramzan under lockdown and tight restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak that has paralysed entire world. The COVID-19 has so far infected more than 2.6 million people and killed over 183,330.
Because of the pandemic, which has spread to 185 nations, many countries this year have advised citizens to avoid large gatherings and have suhoor and iftar individually or with family at home.
During Ramzan, Muslims wake up early to eat a pre-dawn meal called suhoor, and break their fast after sunset with a meal called iftar.
Congregational prayers are banned in several countries, and many mosques have been temporarily closed.