Wide Angle

Ramadan and the coronavirus bring changes to the religious discourse in Morocco

In a few days, Muslims around the world will be observing Ramadan despite the international coronavirus health crisis. In Morocco, the current situation has brought changes to the religious discourse, which is adapting to the exceptional circumstances.

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The current international coronavirus heath crisis has brought a series of changes to the religious discourse in many countries, including Morocco. In the latter, Muslim scholars adapted their rhetoric to the health crisis in the country.

While the closure of mosques will be maintained during the holy month of Ramadan, Morocco's Supreme Council of Ulema urged Moroccans to perform Taraweeh prayers at home. To avoid gatherings during Ramadan, a peaceful religious discourse was needed to help worshipers understand the need of complying with the preventive measures set by the authorities.

Moroccan researcher Asma Lamrabet believes that «few people reacted negatively to the closure of mosques because of the health emergency». «I hope that in the near future this understanding will soon be accompanied by that of our officials, with the promotion of a moderate speech wisdom and rationality, especially when we address people through media», she stressed.

«A peaceful speech must guide us in these difficult times to explain that the pandemic is not necessarily a divine punishment; it’s a test for our patience. This humanist dimension, which exists in the essence of the message of Islam, must come back again, especially during the month of Ramadan».

Asma Lamrabet

The doctor and writer also considers that «many people have had a good understanding and have realized that saving lives is part of the religious message». «One of the positive things that came with this situation is that a big number of Moroccans have realized the importance of science and reason in religious interpretation», Asma Lamrabet said.

Using new media to fight against confusion

During these difficult times, having the religious discourse supporting and relying on science and medicine is an educational step that should be promoted when addressing worshipers during Ramadan, Ahmed Abbadi said. According to the general-secretary of the Rabita Mohammadia of Ulemas, this type of content «will have to adapt to the different components of our society».

«We are talking about children, teenagers, influencers, and parents who are targeted by this discourse and who should have it answer their questions and meet their expectations», he explained.

This is what the Rabita is currently working on, by «producing digital content adapted to everyone through its website». This offers «interactive formats dedicated to young people, popular science links for adults, but also audiovisual clips and electronic comics, as well as a digital university set up on the site and which covers the various sciences of Islam», he reported.

For Ahmed Abbadi, a «religion can raise awareness by supporting medicine and science», especially during these times. «This kind of awareness targets particularly charlatans' speeches, which feed on the fears of people scared of getting ill», he added.

For medical questions, he therefore recommends referring to the «indications of recognized practitioners, health authorities and researchers», Abbadi concluded.

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