Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar calendar and fasting from dusk to dawn is compulsory for eligible Muslims. We as Muslims express gratitude for this month as it is a month full of blessings and mercy. Prophet Muhammad PBUH (صلى الله عليه وسلم) expressed the significance of fasting and Ramadan in the following words:
“Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain rewards, then all of their past sins will be forgiven.” Sahih Bukhari
With mercy, Ramadan unites our communities living across the globe. Waking up early for suhoor, sharing iftaar platters, offering special prayers in congregation, donating generously for poor highlights Ramadan. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, Ramadan 2020 was a turning point for us as Muslims. I am grateful to witness this Ramadan, which showed me another ray of hope and positivity. Let’s discuss few of the lessons I learned from this Ramadan:
While being socially restricted I learned to be more empathetic and grateful. Traditionally the idea of charity shows up with Ramadan. People have always been donating generously in Ramadan. Empathy evoked unusually when I realized I could have also been the victim of recession during the lockdown. The food on my table during the strict lockdown reminded me how difficult it must be for many families this year.
Ramadan naturally shows up with high spirits in believers, social isolation was cherry on top this time. With Ramadan 2020, I became more familiar with the true beauty of worship. I got a chance to spend plenty of time glorifying Allah and my soul felt more cleansed. Devotion towards our Creator is a need of our soul and before this isolation, my soul was definitely lacking it. I grew more spiritually and felt more motivated to fulfill the actual purpose of this life. I offered prayers and recited the Quran with more dedication and felt how beautiful are these sources of communication with our creator when I could actually relate to the narrations in Quran and it hit me differently.
VALUE OF RELATIONSHIPS
With isolation in Ramadan, I learned that the best things in life are not things, in fact they are our relationships with our blood relatives or with our community. Missing out the grand iftaar gatherings or taraweeh prayers in congregation felt heavy on my heart. I was not familiar with this stillness in Ramadan. I became more aware of the importance of relationships and rituals falling with them.
JUSTICE WITH ALLAH AND MYSELF
While experiencing strict lockdown and social restriction, Ramadan 2020 taught me how to be just to myself, my mental health and my spiritual health. I got a chance to take a break from all the chaos in life and focus on to be just with my Creator too. I developed stronger faith on Allah, when I accepted the reality of traditions of our culture which we prioritize or the trends of our society which we blindly follow to spend life will literally not help us succeeding in life. It’s our faith that Allah has better plans will help us grow as individual in life. I got to realize all this because my spirits were comparatively higher in Ramadan and I got more time.
Omid Safi, a Duke University professor of Islamic studies, summarized the experience of Ramadan 2020 in following words: “Now feels like a time to distill life to the essence.”
Ramadan in social isolation was not just a lesson for me but the unfamiliar circumstances taught the whole Muslim community the actual virtues of the holy month. Many Muslims came together spiritually, donated generously, learned about their religion while being isolated and this was the true beauty of this Ramadan. I pray we keep practicing the lessons we learned.