“Praying together in ramadan is not a duty”

Muslims during Ramadan © Prabhat Kumar Verma

The chamfering month Ramadan can be committed in Corona times according to statement of the Islam expert Mouez Khalfaoui also at home. "In the current emergency situation, other rules apply," he emphasizes.

epd: On the evening of 23. April begins the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. Actually a time when people meet more often in the mosque and the extended family. How do Muslims celebrate the fasting month in times of Corona?

Mouez Khalfaoui (professor of Islamic law at the Center for Islamic Theology in Tubingen): Yes it is true: Ramadan is known for visiting the elderly, meeting with family and praying together during this time. But more important than that is the protection of life, which is why in the Corona period common religious and cultural rituals can be refrained from until the situation is better. The only problem I see is that during this time, mosques often cook and distribute food for the poor and refugees. I hope that in cooperation with the authorities Corona-compatible solutions are possible, such as a meal "to go".
epd: What is your advice to Muslims for this special time? For example, should the common prayer and fasting be postponed to the post-Corona period?
Khalfaoui: Islamic law says that only healthy people should fast, so people suffering from Covid-19 are exempt from it. Praying together in Ramadan, the so-called Tarawih prayer, is also not a religious obligation, so there is nothing to prevent Muslims from performing their prayers alone at home. By the way, in Islamic history there have been numerous epidemics in which even harsher measures to fight them were approved by religious authorities and implemented by Muslims. This can still be an example for us today.
epd: For weeks now, mosques have been closed for Friday prayers – what is the best way to deal with this from an Islamic perspective??
Khalfaoui: Friday prayer is an obligation only if there is an opportunity to perform it. Different rules apply in the current emergency. Some mosques offer online Friday prayers. Although they cannot, of course, replace the normal ritual, they are a good makeshift solution. In general, we must not risk people's lives by praying together. The month of Ramadan is known as a month of effort, mutual aid, donations and reflection. This is exactly what we need at this special time. I expect Muslims to make an important contribution to the cohesion of our society during the Corona pandemic.

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