Letter from Sir Richard Leese, head of Manchester council:
Dear Respected Imams/Trustees/Management Committee Members
Holy Month of Ramadhan – Covid19
Assalaam-o-alaikum (Peace be upon you)
On behalf of Manchester City Council and the Manchester Council of Mosques (MCOM)
we would like to wish our Muslim communities Ramadhan Mubarak!
We would also want to thank you all personally for the leadership and extraordinary support that you have provided in the city during this hugely trying time for everyone. The Coronavirus pandemic has affected each and every one of us and will continue to do so for some time. We recognise that the suspension of mosque activities including congregational prayers and Friday prayers was not a decision that was taken lightly, given the centrality of congregational prayer in a mosque to Muslims.
We appreciate that in a week or so Muslims in Manchester and from around the world will mark the start of the holy month of Ramadhan. Fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan is one of the five main pillars of Islam and Muslims around the world eagerly look forward to this blessed month when the Holy Quran was revealed. Normally, families and friends will gather to pray together, fast during the daytime and break their fast in the evening at iftars around the globe in mosques. Ramadhan honours the values at the heart of Islam like compassion and service to others, it reminds us to give generously and puts the needs of others before our own. Mosques are at the centre of all activities associated with Ramadhan and we understand that it is during this month that a significant amount of donations are received towards the annual running costs of mosques.
This year, we recognise Ramadhan will be immensely challenging with the suspension of congregational prayers and the advice to people to perform daily prayers at home. This will also mean not being able to participate in the extra late evening congregational Taraweeh prayers in the mosque during which the complete Holy Quran is recited. However, we all know that in order to protect one another, but especially those vulnerable, to stop the spread of Covid19 and to save lives this is paramount.
The Government Covid19 advice to everyone remains the same, you should only be leaving your homes for the following reasons:
1. Travel to work (but work from home if possible)
2. Shopping for basic necessities, but as infrequently as possible
3. Taking one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household, such as walking, running or cycling
4. Go to a medical appointment or providing care to a vulnerable person
We understand that this will be a challenging time for many people within the Muslim communities and the mosques and is a significant sacrifice but the situation we find ourselves and across the country is unprecedented and requires an extraordinary response.
We want to give you the best advice possible to keep you, all your congregational community and the wider communities safe. This advice will be kept under review regularly and we will update you when appropriate including the information with regards to Eid celebrations at the end of Ramadhan.
Please do not hesitate to contact Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar (Welfare Officer, Manchester Council of Mosques) if you have any queries or require further clarification.
Sir Richard Leese
Leader, Manchester City Council