For the first time, Muslims in Kashmir Valley will observe the holy month of Ramzan without offering congregational prayers in masjids and will remain confined to their homes due to COVID-19 pandemic. Ramzan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, which begins this Saturday, will be a subdued affair this time. Earlier, all markets across the valley, shopkeepers and road-side vendors would decorate their shop fronts with dates before the commencement of the holy month indicating the arrival of Ramzan.
But as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought even most developed countries on its knees, this time people will have to remain confined to their homes during the fasting month. Like most Muslim countries, congregational obligatory Taraweeh (evening prayers offered during Ramazan) have also been cancelled. Most of the Muslim religious leaders and organizations have thrown their weight behind the administration’s efforts to break the chain of the virus, urging followers to pray at home and follow the government’s instructions of maintaining social distancing.
Meanwhile, the administration has made it absolutely clear that it will not tolerate any violation of the lockdown norms and warned of strict action. “We cannot let the sacrifice made by the people during the past month go waste. Action will be taken in case congregational prayers are held in violation of prohibitory orders passed on April 15,” Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary said.
In Kashmir, Ulema (Muslim scholars) has advised people to offer Taraweeh prayers in their homes until the spread of COVID-19 is contained Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Nasir-ul Islam, has also asked people to offer the five mandatory prayers and Taraweeh (night prayers during Ramzan) at home. “The best way to protect humanity in the holy month of Ramzan will be to offer five-mandatory prayers (of the day) and the Taraweeh prayers in their homes. People should behave like a mature society and not rush towards masjids in Ramzan. Instead, they should pray in their homes and seek blessings, and forgiveness from the Almighty,” he said.
The Muslim Auqaf Trust has also issued a similar advisory. “In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid Srinagar, keeping in view the severe medical advisories of maintaining social distancing by health experts, will continue with the suspension of Friday congregations and the Taraweeh prayers in Jama Masjid, till the situation returns to normal,” a spokesman of the mosque said.