Ramadan “will have to be different” this year for Scotland’s Muslim communities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the justice secretary has said.
Humza Yousaf, who is himself observing the Islamic faith’s holy month, said this Ramadan will be “challenging” for Muslims as it usually involves social interaction.
During the month of Ramadan, fasting from sunrise to sunset is obligatory for Muslim adults provided it is safe for them to do so.
There are also normally special nightly prayers every day of the festival at mosques around the country.
Yousaf said Muslims this year will need to fast at home and pray at home, and use digital platforms to connect with others observing the holy month.
The justice secretary appeared alongside First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and national clinical director Jason Leitch at the Scottish Government coronavirus press briefing on Friday.
The First Minister thanked everyone in Scotland for the “big sacrifices” they are making to maintain the lockdown.
It comes as the country readies for the fifth weekend of lockdown restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Sturgeon highlighted falling numbers of people in hospital and in intensive care as cause for “growing optimism”.
She added: “I know, also, that this weekend will be particularly difficult for Scotland’s Muslim communities who are now observing the holy month of Ramadan and I wish Ramadan Mubarak to all of you.
“This will be tough for our Muslim communities not to be able to host people in their homes, or visit friends or family, or attend local mosques.”
Speaking after the First Minister, Yousaf said: “This Ramadan will be challenging. Ramadan by its nature in normal times involved social interaction.
“We break fast with family and friends – I know the first fast of the month, which is today, normally I’d be breaking with my parents and my siblings.
“In normal times, we pray as a congregation every single day.
“However, this Ramadan will have to be different.”
He said current emergency laws and regulations must continue to be obeyed during the holy month.
“This will be hard but we will continue to connect with each other by other means such as by using various digital platforms,” the justice secretary said.
“My message is a clear one: fast at home, pray at home, stay at home, and help us protect the NHS and help us to save lives.”
Leitch highlighted “amazing examples” across the country of faith groups helping out in their local communities during the pandemic.
He said: “Their commitment to helping others is always evident but it’s even more appreciated right now.”