The Russian Ummah facing the challenges of the pandemic: Ramadan in conditions of social distance

20 May 2020


Based on the speech of the Chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Russian Federation at the international conference “The Muslim World Facing the Challenges of the Pandemic: Unity in Conditions of Social Distance”


The Muslim Ummah, like the whole world, has faced colossal challenges from the pandemic. Under these conditions, Muslims, while fulfilling one of the pillars of Islam, have to stay at home, keeping fast and doing good deeds. Unfortunately, Russian mosques are temporally closed, and collective prayers are not conducted: both Friday and Tarawih prayers are had to be conducted online.

All activities have partially taken on new forms, which are likely to have place in the activities of Muslim organizations in the future. 

Muslims at all times dearly look forward to the days of Great Lent and perceive Holy Ramadan as a test of faith, sincerity, tolerance, strength of spirit, humility and devotion to God Almighty.

In their work with believers, Muftis and Imams try to convey to parishioners of mosques the understanding that today it is everyone’s duty to do our best in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones, so as not to cause the spread of viral pandemic.  Indeed, the Almighty never leaves His creatures without care. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “We have created death and life to see who of you do good deeds”.

Due to temporary inability to freely move around and to perform collective prayers in temples, believers have perceived it as another opportunity to understand the purpose of earthly life and for self-improvement. 

It should be noted that from the first days of deterioration of the epidemiological situation in Russia, at the call of the Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis and the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Russian Federation, Muslim communities have taken a strong position of support for all the measures proposed in the country, convincing Muslims of the need to adopt and implement regulations aimed at protecting the health and life in the home, considering themselves obliged and called to demonstrate to the whole society an example of responsible attitude to the threat to humanity.

Muslim religious organizations of Russia were among the first to close their temples during the epidemic, thus preventing the spread of the virus among parishioners. However, not a single day mosques stop their spiritual, religious and educational activities. On the first Friday after the closing of the mosque, for parishioners there were set up live online broadcast and among the ongoing daily work can be noted several directions:

• Online sermons and answers to online and telephone questions;
• Close cooperation in the field of state-religious relations;
• Continuous work with regions, coordination and support of their efforts;
• Conducting online meetings and conferences with regional Spiritual Boards of Muslims and Muslim communities;
• Holding relevant international conferences online;
• Philanthropy;
• Volunteer work organization;
• Continuing the online educational process in Muslim educational institutions, education;
• Preservation and development of international cooperation;
• Informing the population as a particularly important area in the current environment.

Information provision serves to preserve and strengthen understanding with the largest sections of the population, of which Russian Muslims are a significant and worthy part. All activities are reflected not only in the Muslim information media. The activities of Muslim organizations are described in detail in both federal and local television and print media.

All numerous charitable actions are reflected in the means of information. In the hours and days of forced self-isolation it contributes to elevation of people’s spirit, bringing up a sense of solidarity in Muslims, and strengthening strengthens the awareness of belonging to the service of God in the benefactors.

True information brings a very positive response and plays an important role in the context of restrictions and changes, including the ritual practice of twenty-five million Russian Muslims.

In Muslim educational institutions, classes not only did not stop, but also became available online for everyone. Teachers are lecturing, enlightening and teaching the basics of Islam to audience that has grown by many orders of magnitude.


Tests sent to the world this year due to the pandemic, the ability to arrange iftars has become limited, only in the family circle, strengthening the ties of kinship, but deprived of the opportunity to spend an evening iftar with jaamat, which have become a good tradition of Ramadan Marquee and Majlis gatherings in Muslim homes.

From the first days of forced but much-needed isolation, hundreds of volunteers came to the aid of Muslim organizations; they form hundreds of tons of food packages and distribute them to the needy. A hotline has been set up at the Moscow Cathedral Mosque and the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Russian Federation, where needy people can turn for help.

During this difficult period, Suleiman Kerimov, who is widely known in Russia and abroad for his humanitarian and charitable actions and activities, provided tremendous support to the Muslim Ummah. Assistance has been provided in many regions of Russia.

Charity actions are directed to our war veterans and the rear of the Great Patriotic War, as well as to the elderly, sick and orphans. Muslim foundations have sent help and congratulations on the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Muslims have prepared publications and films on the exploits of Muslims during the war and the selfless work of the country’s population.

Assistance is provided in every region and its scope, reaching those in need, says: despite the fact that we are limited in visiting mosques, we are not limited in our good will.

Another area of philanthropy everywhere has become work with migrant workers, as well as doctors and nurses, who often live directly in hospitals.

On May 20, the international conference “The Muslim World Facing the Challenges of the Pandemic: Unity in Conditions of Social Distance” was held online with the broadcast on Muslim.TV YouTube channel. The conference was organized by the Council of Muftis of Russia and the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Russian Federation with the participation of Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin in partnership with the World Council of Muslim Communities. The conference was attended by Muslim religious leaders, as well as representatives of traditional confessions, representatives of state and public structures and organizations of the Russian Federation, Arab countries, Central Asia and Europe. Thank to the high level and wide geography of the participants, it was possible to share experiences in organizing community work under conditions of limited social contacts. The participants of the conference highlighted how quickly and systematically mass activities aimed at supporting the most affected groups of Muslims under the conditions of economic crisis were launched.

The whole world is dealing with the terrible pandemic. And there are some countries where, in addition to the pandemic, there is a spirit of military conflict. The Muslim organizations made a decision to provide thousands of families of Syrian refugees and Palestinian poor families with food aid. This year, as in many decades, the last Friday - Juma - of Holy Ramadan, the day of solidarity with the Palestinian people - Al Quds Day - took place in the Moscow Cathedral Mosque! Russian Muslims once again showed their solidarity to the world, together with believers from Jordan and Palestine, with the ambassadors of Arab and Muslim countries.

Forced dissociation has not divided Ummah, but turned our homes into mosques, united, made stronger in the cause of mercy and compassion. Holy Ramadan has become has revealed spiritual growth.

Guided by the covenants of the Creator, Russian Muslims closed ranks as during the common prayer. Muslims know this high state of mind and pray for peace, happiness and His mercy.

“Those who have done good in this world will be rewarded with good” (16:30).


Based on the materials of the site of the Russian Muftis Council