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South Asia: Muslims prepare for Ramadan under Lockdown

25th Apr 2020
South Asia: Muslims prepare for Ramadan under Lockdown

By Islamuddin Sajid

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA): Muslims in South Asia are preparing to observe Ramadan as Lockdown measures continue in many of the countries in the region due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The holy fasting month of Ramadan will begin in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Kashmir on Saturday, while Muslims in Afghanistan and the Maldives began observing the month on Friday.

All South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries, which have reported a total of over 41,000 confirmed cases and 1,100 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak, still remain under the lockdown.

Pakistan is the only country in the region to have eased restrictions, allowing congregational prayers of Tarawih — special nightly prayers performed during Ramadan.

However, children, those over 50 years old, and people suffering flu-like symptoms were barred from taking part in the Tarawih prayers at mosques.

In March, Pakistan banned congregational prayers and other religious gatherings at mosques for an indefinite period in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus.

So far, Islamabad has reported 11,155 cases and 237 deaths while 2,527 patients have recovered and were discharged from medical care.

The COVID-19 situation in SAARC countries as of Thursday according to the Worldometer online data resource are as follows:

Country Name Total cases New cases Total deaths New deaths Recovered Total tests

Country Name  Total cases  New cases  Total deaths  New deaths  Recovered  Total tests
 India  23,502  1,669  722  41  5,012  541,789
 Pakistan 11,155  642  237 13  2,527  131,365
 Bangladesh  4,689  503  131  4  112  39,476
 Afghanistan  1,279  103  42  2  179  6,422
 Sri Lanka  373  38  7  0  107  13,142
 Nepal  48  6  0  0  10  9,200
 Maldives  116  22  0  0  16  4,696
 Bhutan  7  1  0  0  3  8,953
 TOTAL  41,169  2,984  1,139  60  7,966  755,043

 

Bangladesh on Friday also announced it would allow a maximum of 12 people, including an imam to lead the prayer and muezzin to make the call to prayer, to attend Tarawih.

On April 4, the Muslim-majority country suspended all religious events, gatherings and joint prayers due to the virus outbreak. However the imam, muezzin and three other mosque officials were allowed to offer daily prayers at mosques.

Meanwhile, authorities in Afghanistan, the Maldives and Muslim organizations in India have advised Muslims to perform Terawih at home and avoid gatherings during Ramadan.

On Thursday, the Maldives reported a record number of daily cases with 22, with the total exceeding 100.

Muslim organizations in India have also asked the country’s more than 200 million Muslims to pray at home and avoid gatherings in Ramadan.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions across the world.

The pandemic has killed more than 194,600 people, with total infections nearing 2.78 million, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University. Over 765,000 people have recovered worldwide.

[Photo: Pakistani Muslims perform the first Tarawih prayer on the eve of the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan while maintaining social distancing in Peshawar, Pakistan on April 24, 2020.  Photographer: Hussain Ali/AA]

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