Many people will have started observing Ramadan on 23 April, but the current coronavirus pandemic may have an impact on who should be fasting and how Iftar or prayers take place.
Following a review by the British Islamic Medical Association, we have outlined some guidance on Ramadan during these unprecedented times.
If you are feeling well and don’t have an underlying health condition, it should still be safe for you to fast during Ramadan.
Given the current coronavirus pandemic, anyone with an underlying health condition that makes them more vulnerable to the virus is advised to consider alternatives to fasting this year. Your local Imam can advise on alternatives to fasting. The NHS Muslim Network and the British Islamic Medical Association have advised that missed fasts can be made up at a later date in the year.
Anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus is strongly advised to break their fast. Dehydration from fasting could increase your risk of severe illness from the virus, so drinking plenty of fluids is important.
Please read the latest NHS advice on what to do if you think you have coronavirus.
It is vital that everyone continues to follow social distancing guidance over the Ramadan period. This means staying at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. You should only leave your house for the following limited purposes:
- Shopping for necessities, such as food and medicine, which must be done as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise a day, such as running or walking. This can be done alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or help to a vulnerable person
- Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home
If you have to go out, you must stay two metres (6 feet) away from other people at all times. Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get home.
In line with government guidance, Mosques will remain closed until the restrictions are lifted. You should continue to pray at home and must not invite anyone outside of your household for prayers or Iftar.
There are still ways you can engage with your community while staying at home during Ramadan. Open Iftar is providing a way to virtually interact every day with guest speakers and meals over the video calling application Zoom. They will also be live streaming the Call to Prayer each day on Facebook.
As Ramadan is a month of charity, please consider donating to local, regional and national charities to support vulnerable people during these difficult times.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has now posted resources. We will continue to share anything else that comes out from community faith network contacts.
For healthy meal ideas, visit nhs.uk/LiveWell.
Help is available if you are vulnerable or at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus via the council's website.