Muslims to observe the holy month of Ramadan under certain restrictions due to pandemic
Muslims in Turkey are gearing up to welcome the holy month of Ramadan which will begin on Tuesday.
Fasting from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan is one of Islam’s five pillars. It is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion.
Like last year, Muslims in the country will observe Ramadan under certain restrictions due to the pandemic.
During the holy month, gatherings for sahur and iftar — pre-dawn and fast-breaking meals, respectively — are prohibited nationwide.
Tarawih, the special night prayers during Ramadan, will not be allowed at mosques, according to the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).
Additionally, weekend lockdowns will be in place across Turkey during the Muslim holy month.
Besides, during Ramadan, restaurants and coffeehouses will only be open for takeaway and delivery services.
Overall, it will be a muted Ramadan for the faithful, with traditions changed or scaled back. Drummers, a staple of the month, are the only people spared from the impact of the pandemic. Similar to 2020, they will be back on the street to carry on the tradition of waking people up for sahur.
Vaccination during fasting
It is permissible for the fasting person to take the COVID-19 vaccine jab and it does not invalidate the fast, a top official of Diyanet told Anadolu Agency.
“There is no nutritious vitamin or food substance in any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Injecting such a thing into the body does not break the fast,” Idris Bozkurt said.
However, people also can get the vaccine after iftar or before sahur.
Since its vaccination campaign began on Jan. 14, Turkey has administered more than 18.7 million vaccine jabs nationwide, according to official figures.
More than 11.1 million people have received their first dose of a vaccine while second doses were given to over 7.6 million.
Whilst these measures are in place during this year’s Ramazan, the principles of this holy month remain the same. Devout muslims all over Turkey, and the world, will still be honoring this pillar of the Muslim faith …from their homes.
All about Ramazan
Please note, some activities mentioned in this section will not take place due to pandemic measures.
Ramazan (Ramadan) is the holy month of Islam. In this period the holy book Quran was sent to Muhammed. And in the Quran, those who are not sick or travelling are ordered to honour and fast during these 30 days.
When is Ramazan?
This year Ramazan (Ramadan) begins on Tuesday, April 12 and ends on Wednesday, May 12. Because of the lunar calendar, the start of Ramazan moves backwards by about eleven days each year.
What is Ramazan?
People, and certainly non-Muslims, associate this holy month purely with fasting (oruç). But Ramazan is more than that. Keeping Ramazan is one of the five pillars (basic duties) of the Muslim faith.
It is intended to bring Muslims closer to God and teach them about patience, spirituality, and humility. Hence the fasting, to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. It also teaches Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate and encourage actions of generosity and charity.
Fasting is the religious duty of all Muslims and it means not letting anything pass or even touch the lips. Starting from the twilight before sunrise (the first call to prayer) until the twilight after sunset, no food, drink, tobacco smoke, chewing gum or any other thing that involves the mouth is allowed.
Some people are exempt from fasting: children until the age of puberty, pregnant women, travellers, the elderly and people that are chronically ill.
During Ramadan, Muslims wake up well before dawn to eat the pre-dawn meal or sahur. This is the most important meal during Ramazan since it has to last until sunset. This means eating lots of high-protein foods and drinking as much water as possible right up until dawn, after which you can’t eat or drink anything.
The day of fasting is over at sunset. The exact minute that it’s ok to eat iftar is signalled by the fourth call to prayer at dusk. Hungry people may start the evening with a light snack. This light meal, consisting of freshly-baked Ramazan pide bread, pickled vegetables, olives and other easily-prepared edibles is often enjoyed in a group with family members and/or friends.
More elaborate dinners are normally held later in the evening or night, but some people just go for it right from the start.
Even though many Turks don’t fast for Ramazan, they are sensitive to those who are fasting around them. As a visitor, it’s best to be considerate by not eating in public during daylight, especially in rural areas of more traditional cities. Be patient with the hungry Turks you encounter – fasters can be a bit on the grumpy side.
Some restaurants which normally serve alcoholic beverages may not do so during Ramazan.
Those who want be kind to someone fasting in Ramadan may say or greet with “Ramadan Mubarak” (“Hayırlı Ramazanlar” in Turkish), meaning “Have a blessed Ramadan.”
Celebrate with the locals
Various events take place during Ramazan so keep your eyes (and ears) open when you’re out and about in the evenings. Join in the festivities to celebrate the holy month with local people.
27th night of Ramadan – Kadir Gecesi (Qadr)
The 27th night of Ramadan is called Kadir Gecesi, the Night of Power.
The greatest night of the Muslim year, this is the sanctified night when the history of Islam began, the night on which the first verses of the Koran are believed to have been revealed to Prophet Muhammed in Mecca in the year 610 AD.
The gates of heaven are opened wide, angels walk the earth and the demons of Hell are chained in their fiery pits.
It is also a night of forgiveness when good deeds performed are “better than the deeds of 1000 months which do not contain a Night of the Decree.”
The anniversary of that night or the birthday of the Koran, became the holiest moment in the Muslim calendar (Kadir Gecesi).
This year, Kadir Gecesi falls on May 8/9, beginning at sunset in the evening and lasting until the following evening:
Click here to read more about Kadir Gecesi
Eid al-Fitr/Ramazan Bayramı (Şeker Bayramı)
The end of Ramazan is celebrated with a holiday, Eid al-Fitr, also known as Ramazan Bayramı or Şeker Bayramı. It starts at sunset on the last day of Ramazan and celebrates the completion of the holy month of fasting.
This year, Ramazan Bayramı will begin on Thursday, May 13 and end on Saturday, May 15.