Muslims in South and Southeast Asia have begun observing the fasting month of Ramadan under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mosques usually packed with the faithful are empty and normally bustling Ramadan food stalls are all but deserted.
Governments and religious authorities have ordered Muslims to pray at home and avoid large groups of people to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.
“We can turn our homes into the center of worship. We can pray together and share iftar meals with our family,” said Asrorun Ni’am Sholeh of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).
Yusof Majni, 29, said he felt sad when he saw a photo of a tarawih prayer at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur on the eve of Ramadan.
“I saw a photo last night. Only four individuals performed tarawih at the mosque. Only then did I realize that this year is different. It feels different. I will remember this,” he said.