LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The coronavirus pandemic has forced Muslims across the Bluegrass to observe Ramadan strictly from their homes.
Typically, Muslims would gather at the mosque every day to break their fast and conduct evening prayers.
However, this year the doors are closed.
"Of course this is a totally unique situation whereby the mosque is closed," UK associate professor of Islamic studies, Ishan Bagby, said. "There are no activities at the mosque. Everybody is following the Governor's advice to stay at home and we are all doing that."
Bagby is an active member at Masjid Bilal in Lexington and said 100 people usually gather there on week days. On weekends, he said about 300 people attend various activities.
"You miss it but at the same time you welcome this new experience, this new opportunity to focus on your own spiritual development," Bagby said.
He said this year's Ramadan is now a month-long retreat totally focused on introspection, self examination and becoming more aware of God through meditation, prayer, and reading the Quran.
According to Bagby, gathering at the mosque every day during Ramadan is highly recommended, but he said it was a "no brainer" to close it down as directed by the State.
"Even if it were required, saving life, preserving life, preventing harm takes precedent over anything that might be required," Bagby said.
Bagby also said breaking the fast by giving food to those who are struggling is a "great blessing for many Muslims."
However, that's not possible anymore with the closures of mosques. In the meantime, Masjid Bilal is collecting food and delivering it to the needy to break their fasts.
You can donate to the cause here.