Speech of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Prof. Ahmed Aṭ-Ṭayyeb, congratulating the Muslim World with the holy month of Ramadan
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
All praise is due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family and companions and those who uprightly follow his guidance.
O Muslims in the East and the West,
May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you. Many happy returns to the Muslim Nation on the approach of the blessed month of Ramadan. May it be a time of safety, security, blissfulness and prosperity for us all, and for the entire humanity. May it always be safe, secure, blessed and prosperous.
O Muslims everywhere,
We witness Ramadan this year under such distressful circumstances looming large over the entire humanity. Allah knows how much pain and grief our hearts endure due to the suspension of congregational prayers in the mosques. Even though we are fully sure that preservation of the human life is among the objectives of the noble Shari‘ah, still when the hearts are attached to the mosques, it becomes difficult for us not to be able to frequent them. So, we ask Almighty Allah to perfect His Favor on us by lifting this distressful pandemic and gracefully take us back to the mosques; He is the All Omnipotent and the Most Exalted.
Contemplating the historical records of incidents that took place during this blissful month of Ramadan, we come across wonderful events that have been proportionately destined by Almighty Allah. Among these events was that the Muslims shifted from one condition to another during Ramadan. Sure, they developed into a condition of strength after weakness, and ease after distress. Almighty Allah made this month the time of birth for this Islamic Nation, when the heavenly light illumed the darkness of the earth. It thus marked a new dawn in which humanity received the last heavenly message that represented a turning point in the course of the human history.
Take this blessed month as an opportunity to supplicate to Almighty Allah, Exalted is He, to lift this pandemic, knowing that a believer may turn to none other than Allah and covet forgiveness and mercy from none besides Him. Muslims always feel needy for Allah to bring them goodness and ward off harm from them. They always make use of all available means in this world, feeling thankful to Allah whenever good comes to them and they observe patience whenever distress befalls them. After all, you should have good faith in Allah and should trust that He Almighty shall lift this pandemic, and that life shall return to its normal course in both worldly and religious matters. He Almighty says about Himself in a Divine Hadith, “I am to My slave as good as s/he thinks of me”.
Keep up both the obligatory and Tarawῑḥ (Ramadan evening supererogatory) prayers at home and pray together with your children and spouses. Spend your time in practicing worship acts, reciting the Qur’an and instilling morals in your family members.
Be it known that the fast of Ramadan is obligatory, based on conclusive religious evidence beyond any shred of doubt. It is obligatory for every competent person who is not on a journey and who does not have any legal excuse for not fasting, as is the case with a sick person, for example. Almighty Allah says, “If anyone of you be sick or on a journey, he may [break his fast and later] observe [fasting] the same number of days [when back to ordinary life].”
So, according to specialist physicians and scientists, the claims raised by some people, that fasting weakens people’s immunity systems and makes them vulnerable to COVID-19, are all totally untrue. This is also maintained by WHO representatives who held a respective meeting at Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif Headquarters to discuss this issue, and came up with the conclusion that COVID-19 vulnerability has nothing to do with the fast of Ramadan.
Therefore, I urge the Muslims not to pay heed to such anomalous claims and to abide by the statements of authorized religious institutions and personalities, and to refer to specialists when seeking a religious ruling regarding this pandemic: “And whoever honors the rituals of Allah – indeed, this is out of the piety of hearts.”
You are entrusted to take care of the poor. So, sustain them and do not deprive them of the bounties granted to you by Allah. Be generous and bounteous to them. And mind that there are some poor people who do not beg others and who – due to their decency - are deemed rich by those around them. Look for those decent poor people, guard their dignity and be charitable to them. Rush to give out the Zakah due on you, as perhaps this be a reason for the immediate divine lifting of this humanitarian crisis.
Many Happy Returns!
Peace be upon Allah’s Messengers,
and praise be to the Lord of the worlds!