The holy month of Ramadan is already under way, but this year's celebrations are facing unprecedented challenges as Islamic communities adapt to government enforced social distancing and isolation in order to curb the spread of Covid-19.
With mosques closed to the public and travel restrictions in place across the globe, many Muslims will be celebrating Ramadan at home instead of shoulder to shoulder with their fellow worshippers. However, in this post, we aim to provide you with 3 ideas on how to uphold the true values of Ramadan during lockdown, even if it may not be quite what you're used to. From virtual Iftars and at-home prayers to maintaining decorative touches in the home and the right attire, we'll give you all the ingredients you need for an at-home Ramadan in 2020.
1. Take Iftars online
Breaking Sawm at sundown each day during Ramadan, this is traditionally enjoyed as a hearty feast with family and friends to end fasting. But, during lockdown, even families who live just a few doors or streets away are forced to eat their Iftar at home.
All is not lost though. Video conferencing applications like Zoom and Google Hangouts have transitioned from purely business use to must-have modes of communication for everyday social gatherings amidst the coronavirus outbreak. The result is an effective way to enable families and friends to gather together 'virtually' from all around the world.
A video conference call may not have the same feel and flow of your usual Iftar get togethers, but it does still mean you can maintain that important sense of connection with loved ones even when you can't all physically be in the same room.
Whether you all decide to cook the same dishes each evening to replicate the feeling that you're united or you simply do a show and share before tucking in, an online Iftar can take any format that works for you. You can also do this with your morning suhoor, enhancing that sense of togetherness even when you're geographically apart.
Of course, you don't need to rely on online calls to do this, as a household, ensuring each suhoor and Iftar holds special significance in your day and is still made an event is just as good as a group conference call with extended family.
2. Embrace intimate nightly prayers
Another integral part of Ramadan that's had to adapt to lockdown life is taking part in the nightly Taraweeh prayer, as a way to cleanse the body of sins. Of course, with mosque doors closed due to the current coronavirus situation, Islamic communities have taken to a more intimate approach to group prayers, preparing and participating as a household at home rather than at the community mosque.
With the underlying essence of community, togetherness and a connection to Allah at the heart of Ramadan, an at-home Taraweeh is the best and safest way to ensure you uphold Ramadan prayer traditions, while still protecting yourself and those around you by staying at home. While you may miss the hustle and bustle of nightly prayers at your local mosque, this can be compensated by an enhanced feeling of closeness as a household.
Ensuring you get dressed up and take part in nightly prayers with the ones closest to you at home could be just what you need to ensure you still have that connection with others each and every day when fasting ends.
3. Dress for the occasion
Although everything about Ramadan 2020 feels far from normal, in order to maintain the essence of the celebration, it's essential to keep up your usual routine and practices where possible, which includes dressing for the occasion.
When it comes to purchasing Eid al-Fitr outfits and Ramadan decorations, many UK companies like AbayaButh are still offering online delivery, ensuring you can purchase your Eid al-Fitr outfits, gifts and other decorative essentials to keep up a sense of normality.
It's also these smaller details that can have the biggest impact on how you approach Ramadan under lockdown. Whether it's buying new Ramadan decorations for your home, treating yourself to a new dress for Eid al-Fitr festivities or buying Ramadan gifts online to be delivered to loved ones, doing all you can to keep with traditions and carry out your usual practices will ensure that the true essence of Ramadan is effectively upheld (even if it is behind closed doors).
The entire world is adapting to a 'new normal' in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, and the Islamic community is no exception. Ramadan 2020 is definitely going to be challenging for Muslims who are used to celebrating together, but we hope the above ideas give you some inspiration on how you can create your own 'new normal' to ensure the fundamental human, social and spiritual connections are still at the centre of your celebrations.
Until next time,