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Ramzan moon sighted, Muslims to begin month of fasting amid coronavirus pandemic

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New Delhi, Apr 24: Ramzan, the Islamic month of prayers and fasting, will begin from Saturday in India amid a lockdown in force due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Ramzan moon was sighted on Friday, clerics said.

Ramzan moon sighted, Muslims to begin month of fasting amid coronavirus pandemic

Every year the sighting of the Ramzan moon brings great cheer for Muslims as they scamper to make preparations for fasting and head to mosques to begin special 'Taraweeh' prayers, but not this time.

At a meeting of the Ruyat-e-Hilal Committee, Imarat-e-Sharaiyah-Hind here, it was announced that the moon was sighted in Delhi and in several parts of the country. Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari and Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri mosque Mufti Mukarram Ahmed also said the moon was sighted and the fasting will start from Saturday.

They appealed to Muslims to perform all rituals and prayers at home during Ramzan while adhering to social distancing and lockdown norms.

In Kerala and some parts of Karnataka, the moon was sighted on Thursday. There was no rush to the mosques or on streets as Muslims quietly welcomed the holy month with a prayer on their lips for the safety of their loved ones in the wake of the pandemic. People greeted each other on phone and made preparations at home for sehri (meal before beginning of fasting).

With the lockdown in place till May 3, this will be a Ramzan without the usual gatherings at prayer time and during meals. All imams, Ulema and Muslim organisations in the country have unanimously decided that during Ramzan, Muslims will not congregate in mosques, religious places and perform all rituals like 'Iftaar' (breaking of fast) and 'Taraweeh' (special prayers) at home keeping in mind social distancing norms.

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said he has spoken to state waqf board officials, social and religious leaders, imams on adherence to the lockdown and social distancing guidelines during Ramzan. He expressed confidence that Muslims will adhere to the lockdown and social distancing guidelines.

On the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions during Ramzan, Naqvi said no Muslim wants to stay away from mosques in this holy month, but everyone has resolved to win this battle against coronavirus.

Prominent Muslim body Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind on Monday appealed to Muslims to adhere to the lockdown guidelines and perform all religious rituals during Ramzan, starting later this week, staying inside their homes. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani urged Muslims to offer prayers, including special 'Taraweeh' at home.

Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which Muslims worldwide refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk and end their fast in the evening.

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