From April 24th or 25th, to May 23rd or 24th this year, Muslims will observe Ramadan. During this period, they will practice fasting and take part in religious activities at mosques, residences or other designated areas. The Sheikhul lslam of Thailand, Aziz Phitakkumpon, has issued an announcement urging Muslims to take the necessary precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the Islamic month of Ramadan.
According to the Sheikhul Islam’s announcement, observance of the moon will be carried out by individuals who have been assigned to do so by provincial Islamic committees only. Muslims shall practice fasting, although there are some exceptions.
The COVID-19 situation is not an obstacle to fasting. Swallowing one’s own saliva, which has not been mixed with food, is permissible, as it helps maintain one’s health and keep their respiratory tract moist. However, they must not spit saliva in public areas because it could potentially spread disease to others.
Feasts at mosques, residences or other designated areas are called off. Instead of holding feasts, people can prepare well-cooked food, place it in enclosed containers and give it to their neighbors and relatives.
When family members get together to consume suhoor meals, they are advised to use their own plates and utensils, sit at least a meter from each other and wash their hands before and after eating.
The spiritual ritual of Itikaf will not be held, and Muslims are advised to avoid praying in congregations. Religious activities at mosques or other designated areas are called off.
Provincial Islamic committees will notify mosques in their respective provinces to provide information and understanding of Zakat al-Fitr and Fidyah in advance, as Ramadan is approaching. The mosques will collect the people’s donations, which will be given to families in need.
As Thailand is hold an emergency decree in active, people are effected both economically and physically while waiting for the firm announcement to give the assistant to Thai people. For Muslim Thai who wish to return accordingly, will be in a 14-day self quarantine at their homes.