The COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world has caused unfathomable damage and trauma to so many people across the globe. According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization, there are more than 2.5 million cases around the world. Tragically there have also been almost 176,000 deaths as well.
Despite the ongoing pandemic that continues to take lives, disrupt livelihoods, and plunge millions of people into unemployment – Muslims around the world are now embarking on one of the holiest months of the year: Ramadan.
It can be immensely challenging for many to celebrate and appreciate the month of Ramadan when many have lost jobs, lost loved ones, and are struggling with mental health and stress. With the ongoing lockdowns seen across the world, many are also struggling to accept a Ramadan that will be dictated by self-isolation and quarantines. It does, however, remain more important than ever that we remember the true essence of this holy month despite our current troubles, and ensure we remain steadfast in our devotion and faith towards Allah.
Here are 10 simple ways to try and make the most of Ramadan while in self-isolation and physical distancing, in the hopes that no matter what the state of the world may be, we will still find strength in Allah.
- Keep a routine
It can be incredibly difficult to structure your day with a routine when the hours, days, and even weeks seem to meld together during lockdown and self-quarantine. Especially during Ramadan, when fasting during the day will make many of us even more groggy, it is important to ensure you are keeping a sense of routine and structure to your day.
Make a daily schedule, divide your day into different sections, or plan your day with time limits to certain activities to make sure you’re making the most out of your day.
- Quran, Quran, and Quran
Everything we need to know is in the Quran – it provides the answers to our stress, anxiety, and doubts we may have in this world. Especially during Ramadan, reading or listening to the Quran can help keep you focused on prayer and fasting – and it can help be a gentle reminder as to why fasting remains so holy.
With the goal in mind of finishing the Quran, try spending even just 5 minutes a day reading or listening to the Quran – and remember that even if your mind is buzzing with thoughts around COVID-19, your soul will thank you for time with the Quran.
- Stay physically active
Making sure you’re still staying active while in lockdown is already hard enough – and with fasting, it may seem like an even more daunting task. It remains incredibly important, however, to continue exercising and staying physically active – even if it’s just a small walk around the block or doing some stretches or indoor movements inside your flat or house.
If getting exercise is too difficult during the day when fasting, try taking a walk or doing indoor exercises after iftar or late at night – remember any exercise is good and it can help your mental health as well.
- Lonely iftars are still just as important
For many Muslims, this Ramadan marks a stark difference to other experiences in the past – with self-isolation and quarantines across the world, many Muslims will be forced to have iftar alone or with fewer people than they normally would.
But just because there are fewer people does not make the iftar any less important – in fact, this may be a chance to really connect with Allah and appreciate the true meaning of fasting all day. Even if it is just for yourself, make sure you’re still having a healthy, meaningful iftar – this can be a beautiful time for some important me-time while expressing gratitude towards Allah.
- Stay connected with loved ones virtually
Just because we are physical distancing does not mean we have to cut all ties with society – you can still call, text, video call, or do group chats with friends and family. By staying at home, we are all doing our duty towards stopping the spread of COVID-19 and literally saving lives – so it remains deeply important that we remember that even if we are feeling tempted, we must not engage in social events during this month.
By staying in touch virtually, this can help you feel connected even while we are self-quarantined, and can help recreate a little bit the feeling of past Ramadans for those who usually celebrate with extended family or friends.
- Engage with online lectures or courses during Ramadan
Mosques and community centers will always be an important part of learning and community outreach – but that doesn’t mean that without them we cannot learn as Muslims. Try encouraging yourself or other members of your household to listen to online lectures, see if your local mosque is live-streaming or uploading faith videos or lectures online, or even sign up for a course during the month of Ramadan.
Staying engaged with an online community can be a great way for many to ensure they’re not getting lazy during Ramadan – and for others who are more private, online lectures or series are a great way to learn in the comfort of your own time and space.
- Give as much as you can to charity
While many of us will feel like we are missing out from charity events or socializing at the mosque, take this time of self-isolation to look into other ways of engaging with the community online – through charity. While so many of us have lost jobs and livelihoods due to the pandemic, there are also many different ways to give charity – and every single penny counts towards something.
Give online, donate towards your favorite causes, and look up ways to help give back to your local community in the fight against COVID-19. Humanitarian charities are still operating and are still in dire need – this year TMV has partnered with Penny Appeal to raise money for vulnerable families in Syria affected by the relentless onslaught of a now nine-year-long civil war – consider donating towards these families.
- Stay politically engaged and remember to boycott Israeli dates
One way to ensure your mind is staying active during lockdown is to stay politically engaged – the injustices of the world are still continuing despite COVID-19, and we must not assume that the virus has put a stop to human rights abuses as well.
Breaking your fast with dates is common – and with much of the world reeling from panic-buying and hoarding, it may be difficult for many to access dates at supermarkets or groceries. Despite the difficulty, it remains more important than ever to ensure you’re not buying dates from Israel – Israel is only increasing its abuses towards Palestinians during the pandemic.
- Make the most of this year’s Laylatul Qadr
Laylatul Qadr remains the holiest night of the holiest month, in which the Quran was first revealed – it is said that on this night, we have the ability to change our destiny through prayer and supplication. The power of this holy night cannot be understated – and despite our current situation with COVID-19 lockdowns, you can still have a powerfully devoted night of prayer and supplication in your own home alone with Allah.
While the exact night of Laylatul Qadr is unknown, it is said to be either the 21st, 23rd, 25th, or the 27th night of Ramadan. Take this opportunity of being in self-quarantine to really ensure you’re spending this night in prayer – all you need is an open heart and sincere prayer towards Allah.
- Remember the true essence of Ramadan: You only need Allah
Finally, despite the challenges and trauma that has come out of the current COVID-19 pandemic, remember that at the end of the day, we only truly need Allah and Allah alone. Yes, this Ramadan is different with less social interaction and closed mosques – but is that really the important part of Ramadan?
Take this opportunity to really look deep within yourself – and to experience a simpler, quieter, and yes, lonelier Ramadan. Loneliness is not always a bad thing – ensure you are keeping yourself mentally healthy, and remember next time when you are feeling lonely that you are in fact not alone – you’ve simply been stripped of the white noise of this world and have been gifted with a clearer vision of faith and devotion towards Allah.
Ramadan Mubarak, and we pray that we all find the peace, faith, and strength from Allah during this holiest of months.