Ramadan to be observed in Azerbaijan under quarantine rules
Ramadan – the month of compulsory fasting in Islam – has begun, and believers in Azerbaijan will have to observe the month in compliance with the quarantine rules connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this period, faithful Muslims from dawn to dusk refrain from eating, drinking and smoking.
In the month of Ramadan, one can eat and drink only before dawn and after dark.
The purpose of the fast in Islam is to redirect attentions to spiritual reflection, self-improvement and heightened devotion and worship.
Both men and women, and even children after a certain age, can fast.
Fasting dates depend on the lunar calendar and move forward several days every year.
Fasting ends with the holiday by the same name. Since 1993, this holiday in Azerbaijan has been celebrated at the state level.
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The fast during the times of quarantine
The evening meal during Ramadan is called Iftar, and is traditionally started with water and dates. Usually during fasting, many restaurants offer a special Iftar menu. It is also customary to call over guests for Iftar. But this year, restaurants are closed, and the Caucasus Muslims Office urged believers to refrain from crowded feasts and have Iftar only with their families.
All mosques are currently closed, so mass prayer services cannot be held.
Considering that fasting itself is quite a serious test for the body and can weaken one’s immunity, debates on social media about whether people should fast at all this year have been raging for several days.
However, the spiritual leaders did not “cancel” the fast, but only warned that one should not forget about one’s health. But the Qur’an itself suggests that fasting is possible only if health allows, and if a person will not harm himself.
Patients and weak people are not supposed to observe the fast, nor are pregnant and lactating women. In ancient times, travelers were also freed from fasting, and now – drivers who are driving all day.
The quarantine regime in Azerbaijan ends on May 4.