Upon sighting of the moon, this year’s holy month of Ramadan is expected to start either on April 13 or 14 and Muslims have been advised to have their communal evening prayers (Taraweeh) at home so as to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Taraweeh are the evening prayers performed after Isha prayers every night during the fasting month of Ramadan.
“Once again, people are advised to pray their Taraweeh prayers at home this year or have virtual prayers since very few people are needed in the mosques due to COVID-19 pandemic,” Hajji Abud Karim Karisa said.
“We encourage the Imams to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the ministry of Health and make sure Muslims are safe since the second or third lockdown is going on, in the whole of East Africa and some other countries are so highly affected by COVID,” Hajji Karisa added.
Unlike in 2020, the current COVID-19 SOPs allow places of worship to remain open for communal prayers but with strict social distancing measures, wearing masks, cleaning body parts at home and coming to the mosque with your own mat to use during prayers.
Karisa advised Muslims to perform their ablutions while still at home but not at the mosques since sharing of jerricans and water at the mosques has been cited as one way of spreading COVID-19.
“Since different people at the mosques touch the same jerricans to clean their bodies, and others don’t wash hands properly, they end up spreading different diseases including COVID-19 on the jerrican,” he says.
Karisa said this on Sunday while launching the Ramadan food package campaign programme by HEAR Uganda and Hasene International. This year, HEAR Uganda has donated food packages to 2,220 Ugandans from different parts of the country such as Kampala, Masaka, Lira, West Nile, Kasese, Mbarara, Mityana, Luwero and Butambala.
Sadat Nsubuga, the head for Ramadan food programme at HEAR Uganda says the food packages have mainly targeted the poor, needy, widows and other people who don’t have food due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ali Sirini, the project coordinator Hasene says, they travelled from Europe to Uganda to assist the poor with food during Ramadan since many have lost their jobs due COVID-19.
“When you go in villages to distribute Ramadan packages, don’t segregate people due to their religions, tribes or gender. Give everybody since many people have been affected by the COVID-19 and even the scourge is still going on. Don’t wait for your neighbours to die and then give them (Sadaq) food. This is the time to repent and get rewards from Allah by helping the needy and the poor. Also, pray to Allah to help us find the cure for COVID-19, and we get back our normal life,” Sirini said.
Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar and it’s a long period of worship and devotion to Allah. This year’s 30-day fasting period will end with Eid al Fitr on May 12 or 13, depending on the sighting of the moon.
Sheikh Musa Sendege, the Imam, Namavundu mosque advised women to avoid demanding things that their husbands can’t provide during this lockdown period because this might cause domestic violence which spoils their Ramadan.
“Just focus on purifying your Ramadan and pray to Allah to normalize the situation better. Eat anything that is available and avoid unnecessary demands. Men should not also hide under COVID-19 and fail to provide food to their families while waiting for government’s food. What if it doesn’t reach you?” said Sendege.