Ramadan 2021 in Lebanon: Covid-19 rules and all you need to know

What is it, what will be different this year and all the latest on Ramadan 2021 in Lebanon

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The holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner. While it symbolises faith and enlightenment for Muslims celebrating around the world, it is also a huge reminder of everything that has changed over the past year, especially in Lebanon.

The country is reeling under compounding crises that have put Lebanon on a list of "hunger hotspots" and pushed more than 50 per cent of the population into poverty.

Lebanon’s economic crisis began to unfold in the summer of 2019 and continued to worsen amid a lack of effective reforms and sustainable solutions.

The coronavirus pandemic added fuel to fire as it shut down businesses and locked up vulnerable families at home with no income or aid.

Consequently, essential food prices soared by more than 400 per cent, while the minimum wage shrunk from $450 to less than $50 at the market exchange rate. This has made food unaffordable for many and Ramadan a point of concern for Lebanon's most vulnerable.

With the vaccine rollout proceeding slowly and coronavirus cases climbing once again, measures will be imposed for the holy month to prevent mass prayers and group iftars from becoming super-spreader events.

Here is everything you need to know about the holy month this year:

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic – or Hijri – calendar. It is also believed to be the month the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day of the month, which is typically 29 or 30 days.

As well as abstaining from food and drink, Ramadan is also a religious time when Muslims strengthen their faith through prayer and increased recitation of the Quran.

When does Ramadan begin?

In Lebanon, Ramadan will most likely start on April 12 and April 13, as declared by different religious committees.

The main references are Dar El Fatwa, a government institution in charge of issuing legal rulings specific to the Sunni community, and the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council of Lebanon, the first official institution of Shiites in the country.

Other groups in Lebanon follow the sightings of Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani and Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to determine the start of Ramadan.

What are the Covid-19 rules in Lebanon during Ramadan?

Due to a Covid-19 surge in Lebanon, the country will be implementing a curfew from 9:30pm to 5:00am starting Monday, April 12, throughout the month of Ramadan, to avoid large gatherings.

The Lebanese government is working closely with religious figures to ensure safety protocols are adhered to across the country.

Mosques will be allowed to open for prayers, but only at 30 per cent capacity.

Are group iftars and Ramadan tents allowed in Lebanon during Ramadan?

Group iftars and feasts in households and elsewhere will be banned to prevent community transmission of the virus amid a slow vaccine rollout.

While Ramadan tents for the poor have always been a tradition in Lebanon, these will not be set up this year to avoid overcrowding in confined spaces.

Instead, charities and independent organisations looking to provide for Lebanon's most vulnerable will have to apply for a permit from the Interior Ministry and wait for approval.

Will restaurants in Lebanon be open during Ramadan?

Restaurants will be open at 50 per cent capacity throughout the day, and will have to adhere to curfew hours. Delivery services will be permissible 24/7.

What etiquette should I follow if I’m not fasting this Ramadan?

Because Lebanon is not a Muslim country by definition, there are no strict rules or regulations for the holy month. Eating and drinking in public are not frowned upon, as people of different sects, religions and ideologies are free to practise their own beliefs.

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