First day of Ramadhan today

Citizens and residents in the Sultanate are observing the beginning of the holy month of Ramadhan today.

The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs (MERA) has urged all to refrain from any iftar gatherings at homes with people from outside taking part in it, besides keeping aloof from mass iftars and special prayers (Taraweeh) at mosques.

The holy month of Ramadhan is marked by social and religious gatherings where families and friends unite to break their fast together, after sunset for iftar or before dawn for suhoor, and that is considered to be auspicious during the holy month.

“Besides prohibiting mass gatherings in tents and other venues in view of the spread of COVID-19, we would like to urge all believers to avoid iftar gatherings be it with relatives or friends”, a senior scholar at the ministry told the Observer.

In addition to the statement from the Supreme Committee tasked with combating COVID-19, which prohibited all social gatherings, the ministry’s representative said that prayers should be conducted individually or just among family members and not in groups.

“Prayers during the holy month too should be conducted individually. None from outside of one’s home should be encouraged to pray together in view of the present situation”, he said.

People who are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid observing fasting and instead, they must follow the doctor’s opinion. Similarly, older people and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease or cancer need not fast.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also underlined the importance of continuing the social distancing practice throughout the holy month in view of the potential risk.