For the Dawoodi Bohras, the holy month of Ramadan is a period of fasting, prayer and reflection. The Dawoodi Bohras’ masjids – or mosques – are the spiritual, educational and social centre of the faith at all times of the year, but particularly so during Ramadan.
During Ramadan 2020, all Dawoodi Bohras spent the month safely at home in family groups, participating in online worship, and playing their part to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by closing their masjids. This year, as lockdown restrictions are slowly being eased in some parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, more and more masjids have been authorised by local authorities to open at a limited capacity for community worship.
A short video showing the Dawoodi Bohra Masjids open for Ramadan
Dawoodi Bohra communities in Bradford, Birmingham, Leicester, London, and Manchester have spent the weeks leading up to Ramadan discussing with their local councils the reopening of the masjids. After thorough risk assessments, the respective councils allowed for the masjids to open with strict rules and guidelines in place.
In preparation for re-opening in time for Ramadan, the Dawoodi Bohra communities placed signs on doors, floors, and hallways to remind community members of the one-way system, maintaining distance from others, and keeping their masks on at all times.
Upon registering to attend the masjid, Dawoodi Bohras are informed of the rules they must comply with, such as:
- only attending if you have received an invitation to do so further to your registration;
- complying with a temperature check upon entry;
- maintaining a two metre distance from others;
- wearing a face mask at all times;
- using your own prayer mat and not sharing with others;
- encouraging ablutions prior to arrival;
- sitting in your designated spot only and;
- not making any physical contact with others whilst at the masjid.
Although masjids are not open to their full capacity, with the communal dining hall and other ancillary parts of the masjid closed, Dawoodi Bohras in the UK are grateful for the approval provided by the respective councils to provide a safe and law-abiding way to communally worship during the holy month of Ramadan.