Assalamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

Alhamdulillah – All Praises are due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. We praise Him, and we glorify Him. He is the All-Powerful. From Him originates all good. Without His will nothing happens and He alone is our Protector. He has created us to test us and accordingly provided us with Guidance. We seek His forgiveness, His help and His Mercy. This year we are approaching the month of Ramadan more in need of His Mercy than ever before.

Unprecedented time and an unprecedented Ramadan

There are few things about which one can say that “this has never happened before in my lifetime nor is it likely to happen again”. However, in recent times such an unprecedented situation has indeed taken place that was unimaginable just a few months ago. The Covid-19 pandemic is one of those things, which has put the entire world on lockdown. The closing of Mosques, especially of the East London Mosque, was another which not only have we not experienced but we could never have contemplated. The house of Allah, where salah is established, where jumu‘ah prayer has been held to full capacity since its inception, the place that took pride in being accessible – how could that be closed? And, even more astonishing, has been the closure of the Haramain – the Ka‘bah in Makkah and Masjid An-Nabawi in Madinah. In the history of satellite images, it is probably not possible to find a single moment, until now, when the Ka‘bah has not been surrounded by at least hundreds of Muslims in tawaf or in salah. Today, due to the lockdown, it looks deserted. Such is the unprecedented time we are living in, and in which we are now approaching the blessed month of Ramadan.

After months of planning and preparation, selection and confirmation of the huffaz, in securing visas and making logistical preparations for iftar and tarawih, it is the will of Allah that for the first time in our lifetime, we are beginning the blessed month of Ramadan under lockdown. Unfortunately, it is very likely that the entire month will pass during which we will not be able gather in the Mosque. Unlike previous years when we attended in our thousands, we won’t be able to attend the daily salah, take iftar together or listen to the beautiful recitation from our international and local huffaz. We won’t be able to hear the numerous appeals for vitally important causes, nor apply to be part of the itikaf in the last ten days, in pursuit of the blessed Laylatul Qadr which is better than a thousand months.

Covid-19 is a test which has claimed the lives of many who were with us last Ramadan.

Covid-19 has put fear in the hearts resulting in social isolation and lock down. Businesses have closed down and people have lost their livelihood in their millions and are suffering from hunger and a loss of wealth. And of course, many have lost their lives. This is clearly a test from Allah ﷻ, Who states in the Qur’an (2:155):

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and loss of lives and fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to the patient.

We are facing such suffering because of our lack of gratitude, belief and obedience to Allah. We pray that Allah ﷻ forgives us and relieves us from this pandemic soon.

Marhaban Yaa Ramadan – Marhaban Yaa Shahrul Qur’an

Times of hardship or ease are all from Allah ﷻ. That is life, and life has a purpose – to worship Allah. Whatever the circumstances, we are the servants and Allah is our Lord, and our efforts to gain His pleasure must continue. As believers our attitude is “Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal” (Praise be to Allah in all situations), about which the Prophet ﷺ reminds us:

How amazing is the affair of the Muslim! His affairs are all good. If he experiences ease, he is grateful, and that is good for him. If he experiences hardship, he faces it with patience and perseverance and that is also good for him.


Covid-19 has claimed the lives of many people we knew and who were with us last Ramadan, including Maulana Abdul Mukith – a well-known, respected and regular musalli of ELM. We pray that Allah ﷻ forgives them, accepts all their good deeds and grants them the status of shuhada. Many people are still afflicted and are in the hospital or at home. We pray that Allah ﷻ grants them speedy and complete shifa.

We are grateful that Allah has granted us another Ramadan to seek from His bounty. We therefore welcome the month of Ramadan – the month of the Qur’an. We must approach and plan for this blessed month as if it were our last Ramadan, and try very hard to make it our ‘best ever’ Ramadan. This means total devotion with sincerity, dedication with plenty of time in salah, in tilawah, in adhkar, in seeking His forgiveness and in du’a. We want nothing short of Allah’s complete forgiveness, complete acceptance and Allah’s complete good pleasure. O Allah, Most Merciful, Most Beneficent – grant us such a Ramadan and grant us Jannatul Firdaws.

Lockdown is an opportunity

Whilst it is sad that we are not able to go to the Mosque, not able to go for Umrah and not able to do itikaf in the Masjid, a little thought will lead us to conclude that Allah ﷻ has blessed us with an opportunity that we could not have carved out for ourselves. We are always too busy with work or study or socialising to focus on ourselves and our families, resulting in procrastination and missed opportunities. Through the lockdown, we are able to establish Jama’ah in every house, we are able to spend time as a family and we are able learn, recite, make dhikr, do istighfar and make du’a to our hearts’ content. The question is, have we recognised it and are we taking advantage of this blessed opportunity?

ELM has been and will continue to be active

Alhamdulillah, since the lockdown, the East London Mosque has continued to serve the community, albeit in a different way. Through our website, social media and the adhan radio we have been providing updates and information. Our imams have continued with tafsir and tarbiya sessions, have recorded many nasihah and new messages for the community. They have also continued to be available on the telephone, answering questions and providing valuable advice and guidance. Our professional female counsellors have continued with their counselling for sisters. Weekly transmission (live streaming) of tilawah by renowned Qurrah, and nasihah and du’a by scholars have been organised. Many staff members have continued to work to ensure continuity of service. New initiatives have been launched for the whole community to help with the pressures of janazah and burial, as well as delivering medicine and food packages to the needy and vulnerable. To that end volunteers have been recruited and trained and generous funds received from the community. May Allah accept and reward all those who have contributed and are involved.

We have prepared a Ramadan timetable and will have articles on Ramadan, which will be uploaded to our website. We have also many concrete plans for the month of Ramadan to continue to support the community. This includes daily tilawah and talk, and the delivery of iftar to those who need it. You will be able to see details on our website.

Please continue your financial support for your Mosque

No doubt you are fully aware that the shutdown will have a massive financial impact on the Mosque. No more Friday collections, no fundraising events, and reduced income from our lettings. In anticipation we launched the Friday online ‘bucket collection’ to which many of you responded. Jazakum Allahu khairan. Insha’Allah the pandemic will pass and we need to resume our full services. To do that we need to retain the staff and be able to meet the expenditure. I would therefore urge you to keep supporting your beloved Mosque by:

  • Setting up a standing order
  • Joining in the Friday collection via our website
  • Give a one-off £100 this Ramadan
  • Encouraging friends and family to do the same

Insha’Allah, Allah ﷻ in His infinite Mercy will bless us even more this Ramadan. For every intention, every effort, every good deed, every hardship and every donation, our Lord will insha’Allah not only reward us but increase our reward, if we are patient. May Allah ﷻ make this Ramadan for all of us ‘the best Ramadan ever’.

May Allah ﷻ give you and your families tawfiq and keep you safe. If you are in need of any support please call the Mosque. And in the depth of the night when you are asking from Allah ﷻ please remember us and your beloved East London Mosque in your du’as.

Wassalamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullah

Muhammad Habibur Rahman
East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre