Everyone should be able to mark important religious moments and Ashura is no exception. But we must ensure we do so safely and take extra precautions. We all have to continue playing our part to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our communities
British Muslims across the country have stepped up as volunteers, front line workers and good friends and neighbours to support others during this time. At present, some parts of the country such as the North West and Leicester, have restrictions in place prohibiting visiting and gathering in households and private gardens. These restrictions are in place to reduce the spread of the virus in those areas and to protect your families, friends and neighbours. It is crucial we all adhere to them. Further local restrictions may become necessary during the Islamic month of Muharram and on the day of Ashura (30th of Sept). These restrictions may be put in place quickly and we would therefore encourage you to consider how you can adapt your plans for Ashura in the context of local restrictions.
How to stay safe at Ashura
- Maintaining social distancing is particularly important for multigenerational households with elderly parents and grandparents who may also have underlying health issues. Visiting families and friends increases the risk of spreading coronavirus, especially to those who may be most vulnerable at a time when the virus is still in circulation.
- In addition to performing wudu before prayers, healthy hygiene should be maintained through handwashing for 20 seconds using soap and water or a hand sanitiser. You should do this when you enter any home, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, or before eating or handling food, to help protect yourself and others.
- If you have symptoms of coronavirus - a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - get a test immediately and isolate. Do not invite anyone to your house and do not leave home. You should not prepare food for others.
- Mosques and other places of worship have reopened for prayer and service, but in a socially distanced and COVID-19 Secure way. This means many are not able to welcome as many worshippers as before, and you may have to book in advance for worship or other gatherings.
- You should not use communal prayer mats or other objects and you should not touch or greet others physically, such as hugging one another.
- Do not gather in large groups in people’s homes. Only two households can meet in someone’s home or garden at any one time, where social distancing allows.
- When visiting others, especially in their homes, keep socially distanced and remember to wash hands often.
- If you or someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms, do not leave home or welcome visitors.