During Ramadan, the Muslim community swells with prayers at mosques and crowded iftar dinners with full tables and gatherings that last until the early hours of the next day. .
This year, Ramadan looks very different for us. Our mosques have been deserted and our day-long fasts will be broken in isolation. Our gatherings are now banned and Ramadan does not feel the same. .
We are now practicing Ramadan during a global pandemic which means our rituals will risk spreading the coronavirus. Our rituals have become a matter of life or death. .
Usually during Ramadan, people make time for their family and friends. In a bustling life that’s full of commotion, we take it as an opportunity to slow down and reconnect with the ones we love. It’s a time where we focus on strengthening our bonds and mending relationships.
This year, that is not an option. This year, we must eat in isolation and we must worship in quarantine. .
Our Ka’bah in Mecca is empty, and that in itself is a chilling sight. Our holiest sites have been emptied at the most sacred time of the year. It is a very painful time for us Muslims who are used to seeing these places overflowing with worship; they are now deserted. .
For the first time, this month will be quiet and secluded. My table will not be full. My loved ones will not be gathered around me. The most important nights of worship, where we usually gather at the mosque, will be spent alone on our prayer mats.
But maybe, just maybe this can be a good wake up call. As painful and lonely as it will be to spend this time in isolation, it will bode us well to re-center and once again embrace the true meaning of this holy month and why we fast, which is to help the less fortunate, to renew our faith, and to strengthen our relationship with our Lord. .
Let us take this time to shift our focus from lavish feasts to nourishing our faith. Let us take this time to practice fasting from not only food, but from our sins. .
One day our mosques will be full again, our tables will be surrounded and we will be united. One day, we will be caught up in this race that is life yet again. But for now, Ramadan will be quiet. Let’s embrace the silence.