Across the globe, roughly 1.8 billion Muslims are beginning to take part in the holy month of Ramadan. For those who may not be familiar, Ramadan is a month of purification when Muslims dedicate themselves to serving God and focusing on things like fasting, abstaining from sins, giving charity, and praying- A LOT. In many ways, it is a lot like Lent. Though it is a time to refocus on our Maker, it is also usually a time for our communities to come together and break bread, or samosas rather, over the sound of the call to evening prayer. In a normal world, we would spend our evenings gathered at the mosques, socializing in between prayers. We would end the night sipping on coffee and eating way more desserts than we should.
But this year is different and it sucks. Kind of. At first, my family and I were really sad about the fact that we could not partake in Ramadan the way we have traditionally done over the years. But over the last few days, we have learned to adjust and actually have found some peace in it.
Though Ramadan is usually a very social month for us, this year has been different in that we are not able to do the things we normally would. We are unable to physically worship inside the mosque. But thanks to technology, we are able to listen to lectures and prayers with a click of a mouse in our pajamas (I mean, is there really anything better than that?). We are unable to have dinner parties as well, but to be honest, that has actually taken the burden off of needing to spend my day preparing food and the house for a number of guests. Instead, I am able to use that time for more beneficial things this month, like reading Quran or spending more time with my immediate family.
Speaking of family, there are 9 (yes NINE) of us in this house. During Ramadan, it is important to practice patience and tolerance, and that is just what we are doing. This quarantine has been hard on all of us and the frustration can build quickly. In all honesty, the first few weeks were pretty miserable and there was a lot of yelling going on. However, since we have started fasting, nobody has the energy for such things, and I pray that we can hold onto the peace even after Ramadan ends.
In an attempt at another family bonding moment, I asked the kids how they felt about this Ramadan this year and this is what they said:
Salem (17): There is a lot more pressure, because we are fasting and stuck in the house all day with nothing else to do. It is hard to place you frustrations elsewhere when you can't leave the house. I do have a lot more time to practice magic, though.
Yesmeen (14): I feel like I have actually practised the religious aspect of Ramadan as opposed to only being focused on seeing my friends every night.
Sanad (12): I think it is a lot harder since we are not surrounded by friends. The days feel a lot longer since we can not go anywhere.
Raiyah (11): Usually during Ramadan, I spend my day at school playing with friends and sometimes my friends fast with me, but now I don't get to see them and that makes me feel sad.
Hedaiyah (9): I feel bored because I can't see my friends. But I have been able to spend a lot of time outside and that makes me happier.
Hanna (3): I feel happy because I get to see you every day, and I like to eat cupcakes.
Saif (9 months): nana
Though this Ramadan has come with its downsides, I have to admit that I am blessed to be quarantined with a big family. Above all else, this Ramadan is teaching me and my family to appreciate all the things we take for granted on a regular basis. There are many Muslims who are celebrating this month alone and my heart goes out to each and every one of you.
I wish you all happiness, health, and prosperity. May it be a blessed month for us all.