During the days of the blessed month of Ramadan, firmly believing in the limitless mercy of Allah and overflowing with hope in His help and love during these days of hardship and trial, I turn to my brothers in Abrahamic faith with words of solidarity and fraternal support. I am grateful to our Christian brothers as represented by the head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis, for the idea of unifying the religions in prayer and fasting to end the Coronavirus pandemic. I also thank our brother, sheikh Ahmad at-Tayyid of al-Azhar university, who has supported this call in the name of fraternal love and mutual understanding between our communities.
Muslims throughout the world are keeping the fast in the month of Ramadan and are prostrating to the Lord with additional prayers. However, prayer and fasting are types of religious practice whose foundations were laid by our common forefather Abraham. May 14 2020 has been chosen to show the unity of different religions and confessions, each one according to its own tradition, in fasting and turning in prayer to the Lord, thereby serving as a reminder of the unity of our roots and the common joint responsibility that we bear before the Creator for upholding the harmony and order of the world He created.
The events of the last months also link us to the history of another Old Testament prophet, Nuh, or Noah, for humanity has come face to face, as never before, with a common trial that is equally dangerous for representatives of all religions, peoples, races, and social groups and classes. Not only are we equal before the Coronavirus infection, but we can clearly see the vanity of struggling against the epidemic on our own, as its spread can only be stopped by joint awareness and the concerted efforts of the whole of humanity.
This concerted effort should begin in our hearts, with the sincere struggle and desire to overcome the trials that have fallen upon all of us together, as we stand in brotherly respect and reverence for one another. Is this not what the Creator wants from us by sending down this test in the form of a pandemic? There can be no doubt that the way out of the fog of this pandemic towards the light of purification can only be accomplished through the sincere intention to defend not only ourselves but also our neighbor.
Thus I express my full-hearted support for this initiative for unity between the religions through prayer and fasting to end the Coronavirus pandemic, and on 14 May I intend to stretch my hands towards heaven to ask for the defense of all humanity from this disease. I call upon my fellow believers to follow the same example in the words of the Almighty in the holy Qur’an:
“The believers have indeed attained true success, those who in their prayers humble themselves.” (23:1-2).
Peace be with you, and the mercy of the Almighty and His blessing!
Mufti sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin
Head of the Religious Board of Muslims of the Russian Federation,
Head of the Council of Muftis of Russia,
President of the International Muslim forum