With the Monday evening start of Ramadan, Muslims in the national capital region will be able to observe the holiday in-person — but with some restrictions — as COVID guidelines continue to change.
Monday marks the first night of Ramadan — the month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community for Muslims worldwide.
For members of the D.C.-area Islamic community, this year’s observation will be a far cry from 2020’s, which was almost entirely virtual.
For the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, which includes several mosques in Northern Virginia, celebrants will be able to take part in person, as vaccinations become more widespread and public health guidelines continue to be relaxed.
People will be 6 feet apart with masks on all the time.
“Normally in one prayer session we could have 900 people, but we’re going to have 200 maximum,” said Rizwan Jaka, chairman of the ADAMS Center.
“Ramadan night prayers happen around 9:30 p.m., and typically it would be an hour-and-a-half,” said Jaka. “We’re going to be doing 40 minutes maximum, and then we’ll continue our recitation on the virtual platform, to complete the Holy Quran, within the month.”
In addition, Jaka said, “We’re encouraging rotation,” of in-person prayer, “just to give that spiritual connection for some folks.”
The development of vaccines has brought an increased level of optimism, Jaka said.
“I think we’re all hopeful, and we pray to God that with the vaccines we can overcome this COVID-19,” Jaka said. “Science is working, and with God’s blessing.”
The ADAMS Center distributed 700 vaccines Sunday, during an interfaith clinic at its Ashburn facility, located in the building that houses the Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation Synagogue. Last week, 1,200 doses were administered at its largest mosque, in Sterling.
“We’re going to have the second doses in Ramadan,” Jaka said. “It is acceptable in Ramadan, by the Islamic jurisprudence body, Fiqh Council of North America, you can get the vaccine in Ramadan, while you’re fasting — that is something we’re educating people on, as well.”
Jaka said the ADAMS Center is encouraging community members to continue following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, while getting vaccinated.
“We definitely feel better, but we still have some more work to do to get the whole country and world healthy and safe,” he said.
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