Ramadaan under lockdown

SOUTH AFRICA - Cape Town - 31 May 2019 - Muslim men makes Dua in BoKaap where a mass Boeka was on the last Friday of Ramadaan. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Muslims in South Africa will observe at least the first few days of the holy month of Ramadaan during the national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Ramadaan, which is set to begin tomorrow, Friday April 24, sees most Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and other activities from sunrise until sunset every day. This period also involves undertaking additional prayer and good deeds.

Traditionally, after breaking their fast at sunset, Muslims would visit the nearest mosque for special evening prayers.

However, this year it will be a little different due to the regulations of the lockdown, which was set to end at the end of April if another extension is not enforced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The first president of the Muslim Judical Council (MJC), Moulana Abdul Khalik said South African Muslims will join millions across the globe, living under unique and unchartered circumstances.

“Ramadaan is the month of heightened spirituality for Muslims. It is a period in which every Muslim aspires towards gaining closeness to the Almighty Allah. The fasting during the day, the night prayers, the listening to the melodious recitation of the Glorious Qur’an, the upholding of the cultural practices through the exchange of boeka treats amongst neighbours before breaking fast, and the intensive outreach to the underprivileged and poor, which is an integral part of this auspicious month.”

He said the MJC and other leading institutions are facilitating programmes for the community while imams in their localities, are guiding their constituencies towards making the best of Ramadaan during lockdown.”

Social media and online programmes will most certainly be an effective means to inspire the community, seeing that everyone is in isolation. Social media platforms are abuzz with advice and pointers of how to make the best of Ramadaan in our homes.”

Like all mosques, the Zeenatul Islam Masjid in District Six will also be closed.

However, secretary Hussain Mohamed said the city bowl community can visit the mosque’s Facebook group to view daily lectures.

He said while people in other communities will use social media or the radio to determine when to break their fast, residents of the city bowl, District Six and parts of Woodstock can wait for the minaret lights to go on.

“This signals the end of the day’s fast and the call to prayer will be delivered live.”

He said the decision to keep the mosque close will be reviewed by their Trust Board after lockdown is lifted.

Mr Mohamed urged Muslims to have hope and persevere.

“Have a firm belief that we will defeat coronavirus. Now is also the time to strengthen family ties, and recite the Qur’an during the free time.”