Jordan marks Ramadan in exceptional times, again

In this photo, people enjoy a Ramadan evening in downtown Amman on May 15, 2019. (Photo: Shutterstock)
AMMAN — Jordan on Tuesday joins Muslims around the world observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan under exceptional circumstances and restrictions forced by the global pandemic.اضافة اعلان

Grand Mufti Abdulkarim Khasawneh announced that the crescent moon (hilal) of the new lunar month was spotted in Jordan on Monday, which makes Tuesday the first day of Ramadan, during which Muslims observe dawn-to-dusk fasting.

His Majesty King Abdullah, in phone calls on Monday, exchanged Ramadan wishes with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Iraqi President Barham Salih, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Royal Court said.

A series of plans and measures have been put in place to ensure a smooth fasting month, it was announced.

Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh announced new decisions on Sunday to be implemented throughout the holy month to ease the situation for Jordanians.

Khasawneh issued Circular No. 29 to allow half an hour for people to go to mosques for Fajr and Maghreb prayers, on foot, provided that the health protocols (which include social distancing and wearing masks) are followed.

The government also extended the working hours of delivery services for restaurants, dessert shops, and pharmacies until 3am.

Additionally, hotels will be able to provide food services until 8:30 pm for their guests during the month of Ramadan.

The Public Security Directorate (PSD) said in a statement sent to Jordan News that they will be adopting security and traffic plans during the holy month.

PSD spokesperson, Colonel Amer Sartawi, pointed out that there will be traffic plans to prevent and ease congestion, adding that “this requires the cooperation and awareness of our fellow citizens by adhering to traffic laws.”

The PSD’s spokesperson declared that they will be providing logistic and technical support to the Civil Defense Department in order to provide humanitarian services to those in need.

The statement also included that police will continue ensuring that precautionary measures and health regulations are implemented to protect the safety of citizens.

The police will also step up their presence in commercial sites across the Kingdom through emergency patrols, the criminal investigation unit, and preventive security.

The National Society for Consumer Protection (NSCP) issued a press release on Monday explaining their plan to monitor markets during Ramadan and raise awareness about health and consumption.

The NSCP will be monitoring the price index of commodities that citizens use on a daily basis throughout the month. They will also be open to receiving complaints and notes from citizens and following up with the relevant regulatory authorities.

The plan also includes raising awareness and providing guidance for citizens in terms of focusing on healthy foods, such as fresh produce and fresh chicken. It also advised against cooking in excessive quantities.

The Ministry of Interior issued instructions related to the observance of the sacred month, banning restaurants and coffee houses from opening during daytime, while liquor stores will be closed for the entire month. Exceptions, which include tourist-graded restaurants and hotels, are issued by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and normally allow these place to serve customers under strict oversight.

Mohammad Obeidat, the president of NSCP, said in the press release that the pandemic has changed much of consumer behavior patterns and consumer priorities.

He added that “all concerned parties must join efforts and coordinate action during this holy month to provide all the commodities that citizens need on a daily basis in sufficient quantities, fair prices and high quality that fit the purchasing capacities of citizens struggling with the difficult economic circumstances.”

Samih Alkhulaifat, a 64-year-old senior consulting radiologist, describes Ramadan in the midst of the pandemic as “depressing”. A major concern of his is the traffic and overcrowding, which is particularly distressing during this period.

“This Ramadan is also going to be different because there is no socialization and no spirituality,” he added.

Mohammad Al Amodi told Jordan News that he is concerned about the traffic and overcrowding caused by the ongoing 7pm curfew. The 29-year-old said that it will be strange not to visit his relatives and engage in social visits during the holy month.

He also added that his religious practices will change, reporting that he has “never witnessed Ramadan without Taraweeh prayers.”

A 22-year-old student, Haya Sabeeh, believes that the restrictions are “ineffective” and that “the crowded public spaces and traffic before lockdown is making the situation worse.” She also expressed concern about the economic survival of restaurants and retail shops.

Shadan Jayyousi, on the other hand, sees the COVID-19 restrictions as a necessity and hopes that they will lead to a lower number of cases and a general improvement in the general situation of the country.