Last Friday, a very prestigious guest entered our houses and lives. The lockdown has left our doors closed to the majority of the outside world. However, these same doors were wide open to Him, celebrating the arrival of the long-anticipated Ramadan, but with a totally different flavour. Ramadan is different. Our lives are totally different.
Ramadan, this year, is not about the communal drive which characterises much of its aspects: gathering in Masajid, Iftars or Taraweeh prayer. This year, Ramadan is about ourselves. Mosques have closed their physical doors to the community. This gives us an opportunity to bring those same activities from the Masjid into our homes. By doing this, we create an even more special bond with the Masjid, we go beyond the physical dimensions of it and rather bring all that symbolises our connection with the mosque into our humble homes.
This Ramadan, we will not have Iftar with our brothers and sisters in Islam from every ethnicity and colour. Instead, we will get to spend time with those nearest to us. We know that the essence of Ramadan is connection. Let us use this time to reconnect with those around us, with our families and with ourselves.
Taraweeh will be special too. Our hearts may not be softened by the echo of the charming voices of our talented Imams in the prayer hall. Nevertheless, our souls need to feel the beauty of the Quraan itself and be touched by the meaning of its verses. Let us try to take the advice of the father of Mohammad Iqbal, the famous Islamic poet, which is to read the Quraan as if it were revealed upon us. Let us reconnect and ponder with the Quraan.
Ramadan has come this year in a time when our lives are unconventional.
Two big aspects which, as a result of COVID-19, have come into our lives – free time and the remembrance of death. It is up to us to decide whether we allow these two aspects to have a positive or negative change. Sitting in the solitude of our houses, we have more time to worship Allah SWT and perform some of Nawafal (Sunnahs) we always yearned to do but our busy daily plans fell short of – Athkar, more Quran reading and tadabbur, Tahajjud prayer, Duha prayer- the list is endless. Put a plan in place that will allow us to gain maximum profit from our time this Ramadan.
Through the Corona pandemic, the idea of death and its remembrance has become very tangible. As we are constantly checking the news of death tolls, we should bear in mind that these are not just numbers but reminders. We, as Muslims, are advised by our Prophet (PBUH) to remember death, not to lament this life, but as an incentive to work harder for this life and the hereafter. Ramadan will certainly come next year, but will we be waiting? Let us treat this Ramadan as though it is our last, giving it our utmost best for Allah swt!
Hanadi Khodr is a Quran and Islamic studies teacher as well as a student of knowledge. But mainly a proud mother to four adorable children.