Muslims begin second Ramadan in pandemic, Morocco, Iran, Wednesday
London, April 13, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Muslims around the world including many across Africa have commenced fasting in the holy fasting month of Ramadan
Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest mosque, announced that the holy fasting month of Ramadan will start on Tuesday (13 April, 2021)
The sighting of the moon was confirmed by a team of astronomy observers in Saudi Arabia’s Hautat Sudair, a small village located at an intersection between Riyadh, Sudair, and Qassim, 140 km north of the capital Riyadh.
Many Muslim countries, including Sunni-majority Egypt, Lebanon Nigeria, Ghana and many African countries have also announced that Tuesday marks the start of Ramadan, while Shiite-majority countries like Iran, Morocco are expected to start a day later.
The holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is when the Quran was first revealed to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad (SAW)
Fasting in the holy month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Observant Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, and traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening.
It is also a time of prayers, during which Muslims typically converge in large numbers at mosques, especially at night.
But due to Covid-19 pandemic, many Muslim-majority countries have imposed restrictions on worshippers, including night-time curfews, and called for prayers to be performed at home. For the second year, Muslims worldwide face coronavirus curbs.
“The month of Ramadan is upon us and the world is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic,” Saudi King Salman said in a statement released by state television
Egypt has banned congregational prayers in mosques.
Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi backpedalled on Sunday on a decision to extend the hours of a nightly curfew, following concern for people’s livelihoods.
Mr Mechichi, who has long been at odds with President Kaïs Saïed, had on 7 April announced that a curfew aiming to curb a spike in Covid-19 cases would start at 7pm local time (18:00 GMT), instead of 10pm ahead of Ramadan.
Two days later, Mr Saïed called on the prime minister to review the decision, to avoid the loss of thousands of jobs during the holy month in which Muslims fast until sunset.
Last year, African leaders sent special Ramadan messages of hope to Muslims on the continent amid unprecedented restrictions to counter the spread of the virus.
The starting date of Ramadan, the holiest Muslim month, is set by both lunar calculations and physical sightings to determine the beginning of a new month.