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Feature | April 21, 2020

Ramadan in the time of COVID-19

By Mark Woodward (Minerva)

The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for Indonesian Muslims as the fasting month of Ramadan approaches. Providing guidance on how Muslims can fulfil their religious obligations, while at the same time protecting themselves and the public from the contagion is a difficult task. As Ramadan approaches Muslim leaders would normally be preparing for the complex array of religious and social events that accompany the fast.  There are many who worry that they will fall into sin and face divine retribution if they ignore their religious obligations. Muhammadiyah is the largest and most influential Indonesian Islamic modernist organization and their response to the coronavirus pandemic combines Salafi legal reasoning with medical pragmatism. The response encourages theological reflection on the interplay of diving determinism and human agency in responding to disasters. It encourages a combinations of stoic acceptance, faith and determined action. There is also advice to strengthen their faith in Allah, practice social isolation including curtailing mosque activities and to help others who are in need.