Thousands of Dundee’s Muslims are preparing for a Ramadan like no other, as they will be unable to mark the festival with each other due to the lockdown.
The month of fasting and prayer begins on Thursday, and normally would be marked with large gatherings in the mosque, as well as community meals.
But this year, Ramadan will be completely different, as places of worship are closed and social distancing measures are likely to be in place for weeks to come.
Iman Hamza from Dundee Central Mosque said the community needs to focus on the positives of spending Ramadan in isolation.
He said: “It is going to be quite different.
“The mosque plays a central role when it comes to Ramadan – we have an environment of praying together and having community iftars (evening meals) to break the fast together.
“It will be painful not to be able to come to the mosque – children look forward to coming and the elderly enjoy the social aspect of it too.”
He continued: “We have to make the most of this Ramadan.
“Fasting can be difficult, but with people now mostly working from home or on furlough, this is a chance to calm things down and relax.
“Fasting can be challenging and exhausting if you are working at the same time.
“Maybe people can explore some other aspects of Ramadan, like charity and caring for others.
“Traditionally the last 10 days are supposed to be spent in isolation to focus on ourselves – Mohammed and Moses received revelations when in solitude.
“In a way this Ramadan will have 30 days of isolation.”
Adult muslims observing the month will fast from sunrise to sunset – pregnant women do not have to go without food due to its potential impact on them and their unborn child.
Meanwhile Abi Abubaker, director of Al Maktoum Mosque in Dundee, said people must continue to follow the lockdown rules during Ramadan.
He said: “The mosque has been closed since mid-March after we took government advice, and it looks like the lockdown will be extended so we don’t envisage the mosque being open any time soon, perhaps not even during Ramadan.
“Therefore, we are planning for everyone to pray at home.
“It will be very difficult because Ramadan is a time when everyone gets together, and it can be crowded with families and children.
“But this year we cannot take the risk of people spreading the virus.
“I can’t remember anything like this happening in my lifetime where people are not able to go to the mosque.
“There is to be no socialising this year and people are encouraged to resist the temptation to visit their family and friends.”
He added: “One of the main parts of Ramadan is the iftar where we provide food for those fasting at our mosque.
“People find comfort in sharing that with the whole community, but unfortunately that won’t happen this year.
“However we are planning to help those in need by delivering food parcels.
“It is a struggle but we want it to go back to normal.”
Ramadan will run from Thursday, April 23 until Saturday, May 23.
Meanwhile, chapels and kirks are also closed, with many churches holding online services for their communities.