Sheikh Nurudeen Quaye, the Greater Accra Regional Imam of the Ghana Muslim Mission (GMM), says the COVID-19 restrictions have not in any way affected the spiritual upliftment of Muslims in the Holy Month of Ramadan.
He said every natural intervention, such as the Covid-19 outbreak, occurred in line with the will of Allah.
However, it did not undermine Allah’s command to worship, he said, adding that, the method of worship may change, but the essence and rewards would not change.
Sheikh Quaye was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, on Friday, in Accra, ahead of the end of the Ramadan fast on Saturday, May 23.
“Allah says in the Holy Quran that, He has perfected Islam for us as a Religion with the full measure of its blessings, and it has also been designed to be adjusted to any situation and time,” he said.
The coming of Ramadan in this period of COVID-19, he said, was, therefore, to remind Muslims that despite the situation, man was created into this world for a purpose, and that was to worship the creator voluntarily.
Sheikh Quaye said he was happy that the Ramadan had been observed with the same fervor as was done in the previous years.
” Muslims across the globe have observed the fast, prayed day and night, engaged in various acts of worship, all in the bid to attain the mercy and forgiveness of Allah, and the reward would still be the same as promised,” he said.
On the absence of congregational prayers, which characterised the Ramadan before the pandemic, he said, in Islam worshipping Allah could be done both at the individual and group levels to achieve the same purpose.
” Muslims during this period have conformed to all the rules and regulations pertaining to Ramadan to attain spiritual upliftment and as such, they would be graded accordingly”.
On the issue of the Eid celebration, the Imam said Eid prayers could be observed at home, individually or with the family, in this situation and not necessarily observed in congregation.
“In Islam there is always an alternative means for worship depending on the situation”.
He assured Muslims that although this year’s Ramadan may seem unusual to some, they should be assured that they would attain the same spiritual upliftment.
“We have to realise that this is the time our faith would be measured individually.”
He urged Muslims to endeavour to observe all the preventive protocols of COVID-19 during the Eid-Ul-Fitr celebration in order not to be infected, and wished them a happy celebration.
Mr Suleiman Nii Okai Aryee, a businessman and the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the GMM, also told the GNA that this year’s Ramadan had been an interesting one.
“Because of the pandemic I spent close to 95 per cent of my time with my family unlike previous years where I would be running around with colleagues, organizing programmes, due to the nature of my work,” he said.
“Due to COVID-19, I had time to pray and focused more on my personal relationship with Allah. The fear of catching the disease also helped tune my mind to solely focused on Allah.”
He said because the virus spread rapidly in some advanced countries and certain high profiled personalities were reported positive, it made him realise that it was only the intervention and the mercy of Allah that could save the situation.
“This made me realize I was nothing but a servant of God and so I really had to intensify my prayers, assist others, irrespective of religious affiliation, increase my good deeds and respect every one. All these factors have really uplifted me spiritually.”
He urged Muslims to be guided by the Islamic principles of being moderate in whatever they did including the Eid celebrations.
“We should pray and stay at home, take stock and plan for the following year, In sha Allah, and reduce the visits to the malls and shopping centres as much as possible,” he advised.
He wished all Muslims, and Ghanaians as a whole, a happy Eid, and prayed to Allah to accept their prayers, grant them their desires, and the opportunity to witness and participate in another Ramadan.
Mr Abdullah Fouad, a teacher, said this year’s Ramadan had rather helped him to get closer to Allah.
“As a teacher, I took advantage of the President’s directive on the schools closure to read the Quran thoroughly, and offered more optional prayers in addition to the compulsory ones,” he said.
He urged Ghanaians, especially Muslims, to embrace the challenges brought by the pandemic and make their lives more meaningful, while they stayed at home.
The 30-day fast began on April 23 in Ghana and would end on Saturday, May 23.
The Eid would be celebrated on Sunday, May 24.
In view of the coronavirus outbreak, many activities during Ramadan were curtailed in Muslim-majority nations.
Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran, were revealed to Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago.
During the holy month, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from before dawn to sunset.
The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of the less fortunate.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.