Ramadan - what Covid has changed and what remains

The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan began for Muslims across the globe on Tuesday. Adults and believers who are in good health are required not to eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. Due to the pandemic, people will not be allowed to gather to break their fast together this year either. This will leave more time for contemplation and reflection, commentators explain.

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Hürriyet (TR) /

God wants us to protect our health

The fact that this year's Ramadan is again taking place under Covid restrictions should serve to remind Muslims of their duties, says Hürriyet:

“According to Islamic belief, our bodies have been entrusted to our care. ... The verse from the Koran: 'Do not put yourselves in danger' is clear. Is it not then a sacred duty for all who call themselves Muslims to protect their own lives, the lives of their loved ones and the lives of all people? ... Come, to remain healthy during this Ramadan, let us refrain from risky decisions, from holding non-essential gatherings in our homes and from attending events; let us, in the spirit of healing, practice an 'abstinence from crowds of people'.”

The Guardian (GB) /

An antidote to post-lockdown excesses

The start of Ramadan comes at a very appropriate time, columnist Iman Amrani writes in The Guardian:

“On a personal level the timing feels divine. Just as the UK nations are starting to open up, a holy month begins that centres on discipline, restraint, community and charity - a welcome antidote as the floodgates of consumerism reopen. Religion has become incredibly unfashionable in recent decades. But lockdown has made a lot of us think a little harder about the big questions. What's it all about and how can we be happier, better people? How do we decide what we value and then live in a way that might protect the things we hold dear?”

Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

Fasting as interreligious dialogue

Theologian and religious educator Abualwafa Mohammed explains in a guest commentary for the Wiener Zeitung:

“According to the Koran, the purpose of fasting is to become more aware of yourself and of God. Being aware of God means above all reflecting on one's own character traits, actions and words, and understanding and exercising social responsibility. ... Muslim fasting is not seen as an Islamic speciality, but as a shared spiritual experience that establishes togetherness and harmony between Muslims and those of other religions. ... Fasting is not a mode of stasis and fatigue, but of spiritual refuelling, self-reflection, productivity and gratitude.”