Ramadan has begun in Iran (April 24), for more information on what it means and what you can do during this month in Tehran, continue to keep an eye on our website, as we update with the best information about living in the city.
The word Ramadan is derived from the Arabic term ramida or ar-ramad, which means scorching heat or dryness. Muslims who observe the holy month abstain from eating, drinking or smoking from sunrise until sunset. Ramadan lasts for 30 or 31 days based on the lunar Islamic calendar and sighting of the moon.
During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to show more empathy and compassion towards the needs, sufferings, and misfortunes of others, while giving to charity is highly encouraged. The month is also considered to be the best time of the year for Muslims to seek mercy from Allah, and engage in spiritual reflection, Caspian reported.
The beginning of Ramadan falls on a different date every year, and some countries announce the start on different days, depending upon the sighting of the moon. Some countries determine the first day of Ramadan through astronomical calculations, while for others it starts when a new moon is fully and clearly seen. In some countries, Ramadan traditionally commences only with the testimonies of authoritative Muslim theologians.
This year’s Ramadan rituals and practices, such as iftar – when Muslims break their fast after sunset and gather with friends, relatives, families together, will not be arranged in mass gatherings due to the coronavirus-related special quarantine regime applied in Iran. Muslims in the country have been instructed to hold iftars at home and abstain from gatherings during the lockdown.
Iran is considered one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, with over 5,500 COVID-19-related deaths recorded to date.
In response to the virus, the government has cancelled public events and Friday prayers and closed schools, universities, shopping centres, bazaars, and holy shrines, while festivals and celebrations have also been halted.
However, in recent weeks, the government has re-opened some “essential” businesses amidst struggles the country’s economy has been facing due to the virus outbreak and US sanctions.
But mosques, shrines and holy sites across the country remain closed due to risks of spreading the virus among crowds. Earlier this month, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced that some sites may open on May 4.
At the same time, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, said mass gatherings may be barred throughout Ramadan over the virus outbreak. He also appealed to Iranians in a televised speech and urged them to pray at home during the holy month.
‘‘In the absence of public gatherings during Ramadan, such as prayers, speeches … which we are deprived of this year, we should not neglect worship, invocation and humility in our loneliness,’’ France24 international news channel quoted Khamenei as saying.