Instead, the MCB is offering advice on how to arrange “virtual iftars” online with family and friends as well as other community members by using video chat.

It says: “Due to the likely inability to host in-person iftars this Ramadan, one way to still connect with friends and loved ones is to host ‘virtual iftars’, in which individuals or families can join via video conferencing facilities like Zoom, FaceTime or video-calling apps like Skype or WhatsApp. 

“This could be an important way for individuals to stay connected during these times, especially for those who are living alone or away from family. It is vital in these times that we encourage ourselves and our communities to adapt and make the most out of our circumstances, even though they may be difficult.”

The guidance also urges Muslims to plan iftar menus in advance in order to avoid multiple shopping trips.

Ramadan is usually a time of communal prayer, fasting during the day, feasting at night, socialising and acts of generosity and charity as Muslims reaffirm their faith.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which form the basis of how Muslims live their lives. The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity and making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

However, this year it is understood that the pilgrimage, known as Hajj, which takes place in June, is under review by Saudi Arabian authorities in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

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