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Madinah Masjid, located on Danforth Avenue east of Donland Avenue.

Sun 03 May 2020:

Ramadan is looking a lot different for Muslims across the globe due to physical distancing restrictions placed upon the holy month by the COVID-19 pandemic. And things are no different for the nearly half a million people who follow Islam in Toronto.

For the first time ever, mosques in Canada have been allowed to perform the call to prayer publicly at certain times during the holy month of Ramadan. The decision came from municipalities such as Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa and Hamilton as a response to requests from Muslim citizens since the beginning of Ramadan.

The adhan, the call to prayer in Arabic, can be heard at three prayer times throughout Ramadan.

“The reason why this time it’s so important for us [is] because the [city] is allowing us to say the Azan publicly,” said Alhaj Abubakar, the imam at Masjid Omar Bin Al-Khattab, a mosque on Parliament Street just south of Dundas Street East that broadcast its first call to prayer on Wednesday. 

Masjid Omar Bin Al-Khattab isn’t the first mosque to broadcast the call to prayer. 

Madinah Masjid, located on Danforth Avenue east of Donland Avenue, has been broadcasting the call to prayer since last week.

Seyid Tora, the imam of the Mountain Mosque in Hamilton, expressed his joy about the decision after the Friday prayer, which was performed with few people after the first public adhan. “It is a historic moment for the Muslim community,” he said. “The call to prayer is an invitation from Allah, who invites people to worship. It is important that everyone hears this invitation.”

Some people who go to the mosque said even if they can’t hear the call over the speaker, just knowing it’s happening brings them a sense of comfort.

“This is historic for me,” said Sureya Ibrahim, who is on the committee that helped push for the city to allow the broadcasts. 

“We don’t have that connection because of the physical distancing. I didn’t know how I’m going to do it. It was a very emotional time.”  

Permission was also granted to another mosque in the city. “Initially the permit only applies to this Ramadan,” he said, stating that the community was in contact with municipalities urging them to let the decision apply after the holy Islamic month ends. Tora also encouraged mosques in other cities to get in contact with their municipalities in order to get a similar permit.

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