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Congregation during COVID-19 Pandemic: A joint Statement from the Indiana Muslim Community

As Ramadan quickly approaches, the Indiana Muslim community solemnly acknowledges that this month of fasting will deviate from the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. After consultation with both religious and health experts, we concede that congregation at the mosque puts our local and wider communities at risk, especially our elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. COVID-19 is highly contagious, and prayers or gatherings in large groups can intensify its spread.

We agree that continuing temporary suspension of religious congregation is not only permissible, but necessary for the greater public good. As many of us will be working on the frontlines and fighting for the well-being and safety of our communities, we recognize that social distancing is part of our civic and religious obligation. Islam commands us above all else to preserve and protect human life, a commandment that takes precedence even over obligatory rituals and practices.  There are many instances in the Quran and example of the Prophet Muhammad (S) that highlight social distancing, quarantine, and restriction of congregation for the preservation of health and life in dire circumstances. In this challenging time, Muslim scholars underscore that praying at home is not only recommended but is mandatory when health and well-being are at risk. Allah (SWT) says, “Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into harm.” [Quran 2:195].

We renew our commitment to suspend prayer in congregation and other group rituals until health and elected officials deem it safe to resume. We urge fellow Muslim Hoosiers to follow the stay-at-home order issued by Governor Eric Holcomb, maintain social distancing, and abstain from large gatherings. Given that this is a rapidly evolving situation, we will work closely with local health officials and religious leaders to update the guidelines and best practices as the situation unfolds. As a community, we will continue to explore safe, effective, and mindful ways to engage and enrich our faith during this holy month. May Allah relieve the world from this pandemic and grant us a successful Ramadan. 

Signed in peace and hope, 

Lori Joundi
Executive Director 
Muslim Alliance of Indiana

Hiba Alami
Executive Director
Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network

Ahmed Alamine
Imam
Indianapolis Muslim Community Association (IMCA)

Arman Siddiqui
President, Board of Directors
Alhuda Foundation

Shamaas Nyazee
President
AlHussnain Inc
Board of Directors
Masjid-e-Noor

Ibrahim Eljirby
ISNA Masjid – Plainfield

Salihou Diallo
President , Board of Director
MASJID ALHIKMAH

Heather Akou
Chair, Board of Trustees
Islamic Center of Bloomington

Richard A. McKinney BSW, AS
Board Member, Muslim Alliance of Indiana
Former President, Islamic Center of Muncie

Nayab Ahmed
Board of Trustees
Geist Community Center

Ismail Abdul-Aleem
Imam
Masjid Al-Mumineen

Michael “Mikal” Saahir
Resident Imam
Nur-Allah Islamic center

Halima Al-Khattab
President, Board of Directors
Indianapolis Muslim Community Association (IMCA)

Ghufran Ahmad
President, Board of Directors
Islamic Society of Columbus Indiana

Osama Saad
Imam
Al-Azhar Foundation

Hassan Mahrouq
President, Board of Directors
Masjid Al-Sahabah

Hydre Abdullah
Majlis Shura Member
Muslim Community Center

Zaim Khalid
Gen Coordinator
Islamic Society of Greater Lafayette

Nadeem Ikhlaq
Board of Trustees
Al Salam Foundation

Rami Musleh
Board of Directors
Northwest Indiana Islamic Center

by: Yasmine Kofahi, MAI Intern

Ramadan Mubarak to everyone. Its that time of year again, where Muslims from all over the world begin the long journey of fasting for thirty days, from sunrise till sunset. Did you know that are about 1.6-1.7 billion Muslims in the world! And all these Muslims are trying their best to be better people, the generous person becomes even more generous, the kind person becomes even kinder, the grumpy people start to show big smiles on their faces.

Ramadan is a month of finding oneself, a journey of learning how to connect the spiritual self with Allah(SWT). Ramadan isn’t just meant to feel like how the poor feel when they have no food, that is not the main point. It is the month where prayers are for sure to be accepted by Allah, where people come together and pray all night asking Allah for forgiveness, for strength, or making duaa for a future wish or for a loved one. This month is beautiful because it causes so much kindness, its an infection of kindness and love. Once it starts it spreads so fast. And even after Ramadan people try to carry on this infection of love to everyone, its a month to reflect on a whole year of actions and to learn how to correct any mistakes made.

There are so many interesting facts about Ramadan, for example:
1. Ramadan was the month where the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him)
2. It is the time where Allah closes all the gates of hell and opens the doors of paradise. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained up.” – Bukhari and Muslim
3. During this Holy Month Of Ramadan, one who’s fast is accepted, is rewarded, by Allah (SWT), the forgiveness of all sins made throughout the previous year.
4. Your Ummrah becomes equivalent to Hajj. “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “When Ramadan comes, go for ‘Umrah, for ‘Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj.” (Bukhari) According to a report narrated by Muslim, “… is equivalent to doing Hajj with me.”
5. Who ever prays Taraweeh it is as if they have prayed for an entire night.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever prays qiyaam with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded for him that he spent the whole night in prayer.” – Abu Dawood – Classed as Saheeh by Al-Albaani in Salaat Al-Taraaweeh, p. 15

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