In September 2019, we were visited by Imran Kotwal who supported us in our understanding of Islam. Imran has sent this message to explain how Covid-19 is affecting himself and people of his faith.
For Muslims all over the world, Islam is a way of life. So, how has COVID-19 impacted the way I practice my religion?
The second pillar of Islam is to pray five times a day, preferably with other Muslims at the Mosque. The social distancing measures introduced by the Government to stop the spread of the virus means that all Mosques and other places of worship in Britain are now closed. I can no longer go to the Mosque and worship with other Muslims. The Mosque is not only a place of worship but used for weddings, funerals, sermons and education for Muslim children - so all these activities have now stopped. I now pray five times a day at home with my wife and four children. I am the Imam (prayer leader) and my children do the call to prayer. After each prayer, as a family we pray to Allah to protect each and every person from the virus, to give patience to families who have lost loved ones, to give a full and speedy recovery to anyone poorly from the virus and to help us find a cure. Each evening after the sunset prayer, as a family we read the Qur'an together and ask Allah to bring an end to the suffering. We have also prayed for members of the royal family and senior ministers in the Government who recently tested positive for the virus. We also pray for all those working in the NHS who are fighting to save lives. Sadly doctors in Britain have passed away too, some of them were Muslims.
The Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah have been closed to pilgrims for several weeks now. This has meant that family members who had planned to perform pilgrimage to the sacred Ka'bah (House of Allah) in Mecca have had to cancel their pilgrimage.
Ramadan is due to start at the end of April - this is a month when Muslims usually spend a lot of time at the Mosque and where we break the fast together at sunset. For the first time, it may be that all our acts of worship will be at home with our families. What about Eid -our main festival? Will we have to celebrate by ourselves this year away from our extended families and the wider Muslim community?
However, there have been some positives too. Charity is a pillar of Islam and helping others is very important in all faith traditions. With so many people losing their jobs and businesses in Britain and the rest of the world - Muslims have joined others in supporting such people. Recently the Government announced that they urgently required 250,000 volunteers to support the NHS - immediately, I and others from the Muslim community registered to support British people in need with the delivery of food parcels, medicine or simply to make a phone call to those becoming lonely during the long period of self-isolation.
Prophet Muhammad has taught Muslims that for every disease there is a cure, so we are hopeful that a cure will be found soon for COVID-19. As British Muslims, we have reflected on the many things we should be grateful for during these testing times. The Government has worked very hard to guide and support us. I asked my four children a couple of days ago, would you want to be in any other country right now, and all together they said no. For those that know me, I can't wait for the football season to continue and see Manchester United finish the season with some trophies!
The Muslim celebration of Eid takes place on the weekend commencing of May 23rd.
Why not find out about it using some of these activities?
This newsround clip explains a little about it:
Here are some links to other websites with good activities and information.