Ramadan 2020 in St Petersburg

Celebrating Ramadan 2020 in St Petersburg, Russia. Russian Muslims are waiting for the most unusual Ramadan.

Russian Muslims on Thursday evening entered the most important period for themselves — the Holy month of Ramadan. Believers are prescribed complete abstinence from food and drink from dawn to dusk. However, this year's fast will be held in unusual conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic and mass self-isolation. How will the followers of Islam fulfill the most important precepts of their religion in closed mosques, and will the fasting people expect relief this year?

Mosque in St Petersburg Russia

Ramadan is calculated according to the lunar calendar and falls on different dates of the Gregorian calendar, according to which the entire secular world lives. However, no matter what season the Holy month falls on, this is a difficult time for Muslims. From early morning until sunset, you should completely refrain from eating and drinking — and so 30 days before Eid al-Adha (this year the holiday falls on may 24). Fasting is always a test of faith and strength of spirit. And now the coronavirus pandemic is complicating everything. "We must accept Ramadan as a test sent to us by Allah. We lived and sometimes forgot about who gave us health, life, well-being, and work. Today there is an opportunity to reflect — to look at the past and look into the future, " - the head of the Council of Muftis of Russia (CMR), Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, addressed the faithful.

Muslims with special zeal pray to the Almighty on these days: according to the creed, strict observance of fasting is considered God. The first prayer of the Holy month — taravih-will be performed on the evening of April 23. According to the canons, it is performed in mosques every evening after sunset and the fifth daily prayer. "Whoever stands up for prayer in the month of Ramadan with faith (in its significance) and the expectation of a reward (for it only from the Lord), the previous sins will be forgiven," the Islamic tradition quotes the words of the prophet Muhammad.

But this year everything is different: there will not be the usual call from the minaret. In many countries, mosques are closed. This also applies to most regions of Russia. In Moscow and the region, for example, for the sixth week, only imams perform prayer in prayer houses and continuously read the Koran. And ordinary believers are forced to pray at home. So the daily special prayer of Ramadan called on Muslims to create their own. And the Imam's sermon, which usually accompanies Tarawih in mosques, can only be heard over the Internet. In 2020, the Holy month fell in the spring, the day is lengthening, and if the first taravih on April 23, believers will make somewhere at 22:00 Moscow time, then the last, on may 23, is 45 minutes later.

There will be no collective iftars this time. This nightly meeting is prescribed to be arranged in the society of co-religionists. Usually, special tents are set up all over the country during Ramadan, where any follower of Islam can come after sunset and take water and food. Before a joint dinner, the faithful perform namaz and listen to the Imam's sermon. And then they leave donations to help those in need.

"We called on the faithful to make their homes mosques and their families communities. Therefore, iftars will become family. Muslims will read the necessary prayers themselves, " explained the first Deputy Chairman of the SMR, the mufti of the Moscow region, Rushan Abbyasov. But this does not mean that home teaching is a full — fledged substitute for collective teaching. According to the creed, those who perform rites in the community receive a much greater reward from the Almighty.

"There is even a saying of the prophet Muhammad, according to which collective prayer is 27 times better than individual prayer. However, today we are limited in this. However, the Almighty sees what is happening: the current situation did not arise by our will, " Abbyasov emphasizes. Therefore, Muslims, according to the mufti, despite the importance of joint prayers and meals, should observe a regime of self-isolation. Health is more important. Spiritual leaders encourage believers to engage in traditional charity work remotely. "Ramadan is the best time to show generosity. In different regions of the country will host the "Share iftar" — the imams and volunteers will visit families with children and everyone who needs support. We have prepared food packages for them, " the mufti informs.

Volunteers will also help those who are at risk due to the coronavirus. First of all, the elderly. They are, by the way, exempt from fasting in Ramadan — along with children, pregnant and nursing women. "Complete abstinence from food and drink concerns those who are healthy. In the Koran, the Almighty says: anyone who is ill or on the road may not observe the fast, " Abbyasov says. However, believers are obliged to compensate for the missed days in the next Ramadan. If someone is not able to adhere to the restrictions at all, for example, because of a chronic illness, he is obliged to make a fidya-sadaka-alms — atonement. "This money-about 500-600 rubles a day-should be used to feed the needy with Breakfast, lunch and dinner," explains the mufti.

The rules have remained unchanged since the time of the prophet Muhammad. Nor will the coronavirus cancel them. The pandemic, according to Abbyasov — is not a reason for easing. However, not all Muslim figures agree with this. Some believe that there may be exceptions in extraordinary cases. "Everyone knows their situation, today you can consult with doctors by phone or Skype, consult with imams," - said the head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia mufti Albir Krganov. It encourages the believer to call the muftiats and mosques. "Human health and life are very important. In no case can it be attempted, even in the name of God, in the name of religion, " the mufti believes.

Ramadan Kareem to all our friends around the World who are observing the holy month of Ramadan!