Some 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe will celebrate the most important month of the Islamic calendar very differently this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Communal meals to break the fast, known as iftars, will be nearly impossible
Many may not be able to meet with their families to mark Eid Al-Fitr, the culmination of Ramadan
Saudi Arabia is considering cancelling the massive Hajj pilgrimage for the first time since it became a nation
As per the Islamic lunar calendar, the month of Ramadan is expected to start on Friday, April 24.
Abstaining from earthly desires including eating, drinking and having sex between dawn and sunset for the duration of Ramadan is considered one of the fundamental pillars of Islamic teaching. Muslims believe this instils gratitude and introspection and brings them closer to God.
The majority of Muslims — except those who are exempt including people who are sick, pregnant women, children and the elderly — will fast as usual.
But much like the Christmas season, Ramadan is also usually a social month of feasts, group prayer and other gatherings.
Lockdowns across much of the world will make that all but impossible in 2020.