COVID-19: How UK Muslims, health officials are coping with Ramadan under lockdown
- The coronavirus pandemic has completely altered the usual practices during Ramadan fasting
- A UK medical doctor, Kiran Rahim, shared her experience on how she and others have been forced to stay away from fasting because of the intensity of their work
- Many mosques in the UK have also resorted to streaming talks and classes as public lectures and congregational prayers have been suspended
The 2020 Ramadan is a special one for Muslims across the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the stringent measures put in place to check its spread.
BBC reports how the COVID-19 lockdown has changed the Ramadan fasting for Muslims in the United Kingdom, with a special focus on the health workers.
Dr Kiran Rahim, one of the medical doctors who spoke to BBC, said this year's Ramadan will be like no other.
According to her, she spends hours behind a hot mask on an intensive care ward treating people suffering from COVID-19.
In previous years, Dr Rahim would normally have enough time with her children and family members to enjoy, Iftar, the fast-breaking meal.
The nature of her work has also forced her to stay away from fasting, the paediatric registrar lamented.
"Many like me are choosing not to fast when we are working in the ITU (Intensive Therapy Unit)," she said.
"It is tough in that PPE (personal protective equipment), you can only go one or two hours at a time before you have to take it off and take a drink."
Dr Rahim noted that Islamic scholars have told the British Islamic Medical Association that health experts in the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic could be exempted from fasting due to their intense and vital role.
Others in the medical profession who are fasting will also not have enough time to break their fast as they are on 12-hour shift.
Dr Rahim also lamented that Eid-el-Fitr, the festival after Ramadan fasting, will be unlikely to be celebrated in the usual way.
"Ramadan can be very hard but you have Eid to look forward to," she said. "I am not sure we will be able to celebrate Eid this year."
The medical expert, however, said the current situation could help to put things in perspective during a time of spiritual reflection.
The Muslim Council of Britain has also warned Muslims to stay at home as congregational prayers and feastings have been suspended.
Many mosques in the UK have also resorted to streaming talks and classes as Muslims continue to stay at home during the holy month.
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In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari has told Muslims in Nigeria to refrain from those Ramadan rituals and traditions which were practised before the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Nigerian president in a Ramadan message to Muslims said the kind of socialising that used to be practised during previous Islamic events now risks spreading the coronavirus.
In a statement issued through one of his media aides, Garba Shehu, on Thursday, April 23, the president advised Muslims to avoid large gatherings and have their prayers and meals individually or with family at home.
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