Thirty worshippers had to be sent home from an overcrowded Eccles mosque on the first night of Ramadan because of reduced capacity due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Ramadan is a month-long festival that is observed by Muslims across the world as a month of fasting (sawm), prayer, reflection and community. The usual rituals of this festival have been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
Ramadan fell during the first national lockdown last year and mosques were closed completely during the festival. This year, however, places of worship are allowed to open with a reduced capacity for individual worship and small services.
Chairman of Eccles Mosque in Salford, Ali Anees explained how the observance of the festival has been different this year.
He said: “The pandemic and restrictions in place have made arrangements for the festival very difficult.”
Fasting (sawm) is where Muslim followers do not eat or drink during daylight hours. It is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith and enables Muslims to feel closer to God by strengthening their self-discipline.
The Eccles Mosque usually offers a feast to worshippers who wish to break their fast with the community. This has not been possible this year or last due to the pandemic.
Mr Anees added: “Rituals are more difficult due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Taxi drivers and people who work locally usually go to the mosque at night to break their fast with other members of the community.
“We had to send about 30 people home on the first night of Ramadan (April 12) due to limited space and a first-come first-served policy.
“We have also reduced the length of our prayer services to limit the amount of time people spend in close proximity.”
Ramadan ends on May 12, the next crescent moon in the lunar cycle.