Coronavirus: Staying safe and protecting others during Ramadan 2020
For Muslims across the world, an important month of fasting begins this week but, this year, as with Easter and Passover, Ramadan 2020 will be celebrated differently as places of worship including Mosques in Hackney are closed and social distancing measures are in place.
Ramadan is an important time of prayer and reflection in the Islamic faith, when friends, family and members of Mosques would traditionally come together in person for iftar (breaking of the fast) and congregational prayers.
However, due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, residents will be unable to spend time with friends and family members who do not live in the same household. Whilst this will be a break from tradition for many people, it is vital to stop the spread of the virus and to protect the local community.
Normally during the run up to Ramadan I would be looking forward to attending community iftars across Hackney. This year the single most important action we can all take to fight Covid-19 is to stay at home, and although this may be difficult especially during the holy month of Ramadan, I would urge all residents to stick to the advice from Public Health England and adapt to these major temporary changes, while still finding ways to give to charity and enjoy the spiritual lift and community spirit that Ramadan provides.
I wish all those marking Ramadan a safe holy month and welcome those using modern technology to ensure we can still stay connected to our loved ones through the internet and social media.
There are a number of organisations who have created online services to help muslims feel connected during Ramadan as certain mosques, including the East London Mosque will be live streaming prayers and islamic lectures.
As Muslims, we look forward to Ramadan all year so I know how disheartening it is to not be able to celebrate Ramadan how we usually do. Many mosques in Hackney have live audio transmissions to the home all year round and this will be continued during Ramadan. For people without access to the internet, phone calls with family and friends will help to maintain the sense of communal celebration during Ramadan.
As is the case every year, anyone with an underlying health condition, such as diabetes, should discuss whether they are able to fast safely during Ramadan with their GP before deciding to fast.
Sources of guidance and information
Additional advice on the coronavirus (Covid-19) as well as guidance for Ramadan this year can be found in the links below:
Information on coronavirus (Covid-19), including what to do if you develop symptoms, can be found on the NHS coronavirus webpage: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Find out more about how Hackney Council is responding to coronavirus (Covid-19) and sign up for updates: https://hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus
Local support is available within Hackney for residents who need help. If you or someone you know needs practical support during the coronavirus outbreak, you can contact Hackney Council via the webpage https://hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-support#vulnerable or by calling 020 8356 3111 (8am-5pm Monday-Friday).
The Muslim Council of Britain has produced practical advice for managing during the coronavirus outbreak, with specific guidance available for Ramadan: https://mcb.org.uk/resources/ramadan/
For individuals who are able to fast safely, it is important to:
Hydrate well during non-fasting hours to prevent tiredness and headaches;
Eat a well balanced diet during non-fasting hours, including slow release food that can provide energy for the day;
Avoid too much time spent in the sun to avoid dehydration; and
If possible, plan meals in advance to avoid the need for regular trips to supermarkets.
For more information and links to sources please visit https://hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus
Please find below a leaflet containing advice for staying safe and protecting others from Coronavirus during Ramadan this year.
A special Ramadan Mubarak to all our residents celebrating the holy month.
Philip Glanvile, Mayor of Hackney
Cllr Antoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor and Lead Cabinet Member for Faith
Munaf Zeena, Chair of North London Muslim Community Centre
Dr Sandra Husbands, Director of Public Health