Kashmir awaits dawn of a strange Ramadan

Kashmir awaits dawn of a strange Ramadan

Srinagar: A never-seen-before Ramadan is set to dawn in Kashmir on Saturday  in which people won’t be able to offer congregational and taraweeh in mosques, nor host Iftar parties at sunset.

The most revered month of Islam, Ramadan is usually the time when mosques as well as shrines bustle with large number of devotees throughout the day. But this is now impossible given the Covid-19 situation, where strict social distancing rules have to be followed.

Muslim leaders and clerics have advised people to offer all prayers inside their homes. This was also the advisory issued by the Union Ministry ot Minority Affairs on Tuesday.

It further said that more than 30 state Waqf boards have started working on the strategy to ensure strict implementation of lockdown, curfew and social distancing during Ramadan.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has held a meeting with religious leaders and urged them to not hold congregational prayers at mosques during Ramadan.

The district administration of Srinagar issued guidelines a week before, that no congregational and taraweeh prayers will be allowed in mosques of the district.

People in Kashmir valley say that this will be a new experience of Ramadan for them.

Mohd Sultan, 68, said, “I have never experienced this kind of Ramadan in my entire life. I used to spend all day in the mosque, but it doesn’t seem to be possible now.”

Ghulam Mohammad, 65, said, Kashmir has seen many uprisings in decades, the situation was unfavourable many times before also, but there never came any time across when we were not able to attend prayers in mosques along with taraweeh.”

Another person in his 80s said, “There have been outbreaks of many deadly diseases in Kashmir, but they remained mostly confined to some part of the valley. We still used to go out and pray at mosques, but today it’s totally different.”

Almost every Muslim country in the world has barred daily and taraweeh prayers inside mosques, while advising people to stay at homes and pray indoors. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has asked Muslims worldwide to pray at home during Ramadan while the two holiest mosques at Mecca and Madina will allow only employees to enter.

Some countries, including the US, Ireland and South Africa have announced that taraweeh prayers will be livestreamed for the Muslim community. Pakistan has allowed prayers during the month of Ramadan with the condition that at least 6 feet distance must be maintained between each person.

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