Each year, Muslims around the world eagerly await the holy month of Ramadan. It’s around this time – with just two weeks to go – that many of us prepare to fast from dawn until sunset, increase acts of worship, and practice patience and spiritual discipline.
And then there is the social aspect which brings much excitement: buzzing markets, colourful street festivals, family get-togethers, community iftars, and, of course, the daily congregational prayers (tarawih). But, this year, amid the coronavirus crisis and strict social distancing rules, many of these things will seem like a distant memory. Naturally, this may leave us feeling a little apprehensive and uncertain about how we approach Ramadan.
As we all come to terms with the fact that Ramadan may be very different this year, we must not lose sight of the timing of our current situation – and the hidden opportunity it brings. Here are just some ways you can make the most of Ramadan and keep the community spirit alive during this holy month.
While we’re so used to catching up with our family and friends to break our fast over a mouth-watering iftar, this year might be a little different. While we may not be able to be in the physical presence of loved ones, we can still bond over virtual iftar dinners. You can consider live-streaming your iftar with family and friends over social media (But, beware of food envy!) and having Zoom catch-ups with those who don’t live with you.
Although the circumstances are quite unusual at the moment, it’s important to not let the stress of what’s going on create even more separation and distance between us and our loved ones, especially during Ramadan.
We all know there is ample reward for praying in congregation (Salah al-ja’mmah), and while it might not be possible to carry out communal worship at the mosque – which may be felt especially during Jummah and evening tarawih prayers – you can still pray together with your family, spouse or roommate at home. By establishing prayer as a family affair, you will feel a sense of comfort and serenity – similar to that of praying in congregation at the mosque.
It might also be worthwhile to check in with your local mosque or Islamic centre to see if they are running any online sermons (many are!) and signing up to online courses to increase your knowledge and recharge your spirituality during this holy month.
Ramadan is the perfect opportunity for us to maximise our rewards, reflect on our blessings and show empathy for those less fortunate than us. As the spread of coronavirus brings the world to a halt, now is the time to practice kindness, generosity and care – whether it is caring for your elderly parents, calling to check in on your neighbours or giving charity to those less fortunate. As a human family, this pandemic is teaching us to work together to ensure everyone’s health, safety and dignity. It is a reminder that our response to each other must be like one body – if one limb aches, the whole body is impacted. In the wake of this crisis, as we are beginning to see clearly the many blessings and privileges we often take for granted, now is our chance to share what we can with those in need.
Share your Ramadan: https://ramadan.islamic-relief.com.au/
Give to our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal: https://islamic-relief.com.au/covid-19-emergency/