Pope Francis has called on “believers of all faiths” to unite in a day of fasting, prayer and acts of charity on a single day during the holy month of Ramadan (Ramazan in Turkish), when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset.
On Thursday, 14 May, the Pope wants the world to come together through the “universal value” of prayer and ask, “God to help humankind overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
The day will be dedicated to fasting, prayers, charitable deeds, and acts of kindness, with adherents of all faiths encouraged to participate according to their own religious rites and customs.
The global initiative from interreligious body Higher Committee of Human Fraternity has received support from high profile figures and religious bodies representing Islam, Christianity, Judaism and other faiths.
They include Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Ahmad El Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, Leader of the Hindu Community and Head of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, and US-based Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig.
Speaking in Rome on 3 May, Pope Francis said “since prayer is a universal value, I have accepted the proposal of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity for believers of all religions to unite spiritually this 14 May for a day of prayer, fasting, and works of charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Remember: 14 May, all believers together, believers of different traditions, to pray, fast, and perform works of charity”.
Egypt’s Grand Imam Ahmad al-Tayeb has also welcomed the initiative. He invited people around the world to pray and do charitable works “for the sake of Allah Almighty, in order to lift this pandemic off us and the entire world,” in a post on Facebook.
The global event will run under the hashtag #prayForHumanity.
About the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity
On February 4, 2019, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar met in Abu Dhabi to sign the Document on Human Fraternity—a joint statement calling for the reconciliation of people of goodwill in service of universal peace. That bold act inspired us. With the support of the United Arab Emirates, who themselves are deeply committed to harmonious coexistence through dialogue and understanding, we formed the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity.
Main photo, top: Members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF) meeting with Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (Photo: AETOSWire)