Leader of Banbury Mosque explains impact of coronavirus on Ramadan

The leader of the Banbury Mosque has issued a statement on the impact of the coronavirus on Ramadan.
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This year, Ramadan begins tomorrow (Saturday April 25), and will end a month later on the evening of Saturday May 23, 2020.

The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, and therefore the dates of Ramadan change each year. The Ramadan timetable varies slightly due to the time that the sun sets, depending on your location in the UK.

Abu Hassan Hanif, chairman of the Banbury Mosque, said: "Aside from fasting, Muslims observing Ramadan also increase spiritual devotional acts such as prayer, giving to charity and strengthening family ties.

Banbury MosqueBanbury Mosque
Banbury Mosque

"Muslims are encouraged to share their food with friends, family and neighbours and to reach out to those who may be fasting alone, to share their Ramadan experiences.

"Fasting plays an important role in many major world religions and is a central feature in all the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Islam, Muslims, who are able to, are required to fast during the month of Ramadan.

"Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam.

"A key objective of fasting increase in taqwa (closeness to God), and to bring about sense of gratitude, self-discipline and self-improvement, at both an individual and community level, which Muslims are encouraged to continue throughout the year.

(At centre) Hassan Hanif, chairman of the Banbury Mosque(At centre) Hassan Hanif, chairman of the Banbury Mosque
(At centre) Hassan Hanif, chairman of the Banbury Mosque

"At an individual level, fasting encourages us to feel an affinity with the poor across the world who have little or no food to eat.

"For a people of faith, considering a motion to close the Mosque is counter intuitive to everything one believes.

"At times of distress, one goes to the Mosque gathering with others in our community to strengthen and nourish our spiritual states through Dhikr (Remembrance of God almighty)to resolve to stand strong in the face of the impending challenges.

"Due to the current lockdown congregations, lectures, Qur'an recitations and supplications cannot be done at the Mosque, even though these often attract large crowds.

Banbury MosqueBanbury Mosque
Banbury Mosque

"However, these will still continue by pre-recording or live streaming using one of the social media platforms.

"While it is not possible for our Mosque to serve Iftar on the premises or as a group, the opportunity of using the capacity to provide boxed food for those who may be struggling to make ends meet or who are vulnerable within the community and in wider society, including NHS staff and other emergency services will be provided throughout Ramadan Kareem.

"Those of you who are unable to assist financially we remind you of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teachings,

"To smile is charity, to command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity.

"We encourage our congregation to show love, care, and kindness to everyone in our community and through actions and show the true essence of Islam, offer to help your neighbours with any shopping they need, especially those who are elderly and at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

"Please remember the importance of continuing to adhere to social distancing measures and following UK Government policy to help stop the spread of COVID-19."

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