In the spirit of unity and collaboration, leaders from the London Muslim Mosque, Islamic Center of Southwestern Ontario, Muslim Association of Canada London Chapter, Muslim Youth Association of London, Bosnian Canadian Islamic Centre London, North London Islamic Center, Hyatt Mosque and AlTaqwa Academy formed a City-wide COVID-19 Muslims Task Force. The mandate of this Task Force was to establish evidence-based guidance and coordination of a unified response among all Muslim organizations in light of the evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on current health, legal and spiritual advice, the Task Force has the following information regarding issues surrounding Ramadan during the COVID pandemic.
1. Will there be Jummah and Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan?
- As per the Task Force's original advice, Mosques must remain closed at this time. This is now a legal directive from the Ontario Government, which has also banned gatherings of greater than 5 people. The government has moved to issue fines to people and businesses who do not comply with this requirement;
- Each institution will be conducting some form of virtual Khutbahs, Halaqas, Messages and/or Duas;
- Please continue to pray with your families at home, including Taraweh and obtain Allah (SWT)'s Mercy and Graciousness.
2. What about Iftar Dinners?
- It is currently against the law - as created under Emergency Measures legislation - to have a gathering of greater than 5 people, unless it is the immediate family that you normally reside with. Having group dinners also unnecessarily exposes families to the risk of transmitting COVID-19, which can be transmitted even if a person does not have the symptoms, but still has the virus. Older people are particularly at risk. Therefore, we must comply with these legal and medical opinions. Try using video conferencing to connect with family/friends whenever possible;
- If someone is preparing food, they should be following strict etiquette including proper hand washing.
3. Is it safe to fast during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
- Fasting is as safe during this time as it is at any other time, for those who it is prescribed for;
- Contrary to some reports on social media, there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that drinking water every 15 minutes will protect you from COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and drinking water does nothing to protect someone from it. If you have a virus, then part of the treatment of this is to stay hydrated. However, this is the same guidance as normal - that those who are sick are not required to fast.
4. How can we give Zakat during Ramadan, including Zakat-ul-Fitr?
- We must all remember that no matter how bad this pandemic is, there are always people worse off than us, and being charitable is at the heart of what it means to be Muslim, especially during Ramadan;
- Various institutions will be starting/continuing their programs for online donations [click here to donate online with the London Muslim Mosque];
- Providing food to the hungry is very important and there are a number of groups doing that right now, in a COVID-19 compliant manner. This includes donating money to charities who can cook and/or delivering the food with physical distancing precautions;
- Zakat-ul-Fitr shall be a minimum of $15 per person. This should be paid after the start of Ramadan and before Eid prayer (the earlier the better, so that it can reach the people in need in time). Please check with your Mosque about the best way to do this.
5. Will there be an Eid Celebration this year?
- It appears likely that the Emergency orders and Physical distancing rules will still be in place by Eid;
- Therefore, it is almost certain that there will not be a community Eid prayer at this time;
- Instead invoke Takbeer as much as possible, which can start after Maghrib the night before Eid. As the Eid prayer is a communal prayer, there will not be an Eid salat and you should not perform it at home. Please pray Fajr and Dhuhr as you normally would, with your family.
-Eid greetings will be posted by Imams.
The Task Force has agreed to follow the Fiqh Council of North America’s method for calculating the beginning and end of Ramadan. As a result, the first day of Ramadan is going to be Friday, April 24, 2020. The last day of Ramadan is going to be on Saturday, May 23, 2020 and Eid Al-Fitr is going to be on Sunday, May 24, 2020.
May Allah SWT accept our acts of worship and grant us strength and mercy during this time.
Jazākoum Allāhu Khayran,
The London Muslims COVID-19 Task Force