Ramadan is around the corner, but for many people, this exciting time of the year is now full of anxiety and uncertainty due to COVID-19.
There are Jumu’ah prayers being cancelled, halaqas and other programs in the masjid are being postponed, and many people are worried about what Ramadan and Eid will look like.
Will there still be taraweeh prayers and Eid salah, if the current recommendation to avoid large gatherings stays in place?
Will people be able to have iftar with their friends and communities, like they are used to doing? Even the food supply is not as secure as usual, with people frantically clearing out the grocery stores and stocking up their pantries and freezers.
These are real concerns, no doubt. And losing the community connection that is so central to Ramadan seems devastating. But we should also keep in mind that Ramadan only comes once a year, and there are still many ways we can prepare for it and make the most of it while staying safe.
Here are some things that we can all do to prepare for Ramadan, even during uncertain times like these:
Re-Connect with the Quran
When going through fear and hardship, it is more important than ever to connect with Allah through His Book. The Quran is truly a timeless message and there is something in it to help us through every situation.
Now is a great time to get in the habit of reading the Quran more often so that we will be able to keep up reading it daily in Ramadan.
I know things might seem a little crazy right now, but that’s why it is more vital than ever for us to keep up our spiritual connection and religious practices.
Reading the Quran is also an independent activity that we can do regardless of whether we are able to gather in large groups or not, so it is a good and practical practice to keep up at a time like this.
Consistency is key when it comes to forming habits. If you’d like to eventually be reading one juz’ of the Quran per day (or ½, or ¼), start slow and build up to that amount.
The main thing is getting in the habit of reciting some amount daily, even if it is less than what we expect from ourselves, and work our way up from there. We are even told that the best deeds are those done consistently, even if they are small.
Ramadan is a time of community and giving. We are encouraged to help others through charity work and donations. Even those who are not in a position to give monetarily are able to help others through their time and energy.
We should think about how we can still help others at a time like this without risking our health or safety. One example would be to look out for the elderly people in our lives, as well as those with compromised immune systems. These people have a higher risk of getting seriously and dangerously ill from COVID-19.
One way to help them would be to shop for their groceries with our own or run other errands (going to the post office, etc.). This will reduce their exposure to viral infections without increasing our own risk, since we were going out anyway.
Those who are unable to run errands for others can still check in with them on the phone and by text message. I’m sure this would be greatly appreciated and still provide emotional support.
Increase Family Worship Time
Since many masajid are no longer able to offer the same services as before in order to keep people safe, we should try doing more worship within our own homes and with our families.
There are countless Islamic lectures available online that families can benefit from; prayers can be done in congregation with one’s own family, or even between husband and wife; a small study circle or book club can be held at home, with a religious text of the family’s choosing; and many other activities and acts of worship can be done at home.
This will help minimize the sadness and negative affects of not having the same access to one’s masjid and community resources, Insha’Allah.
Although no place can take the place of the House of Allah, it is still beneficial to have these small assemblies rather than doing everything on our own.
Ramadan is a time of community gatherings, so in case the masajid are still not fully functioning by the time the month begins, we should try to establish these new routines in our own homes from now. These are beneficial things to do within the home anyway, even after Ramadan.
Make Extra Dua
At the end of the day, we all know that although we should take the appropriate and recommended measures to stay safe, everything is ultimately in Allah’s hands. Allah alone knows how everything will work out. We should pray for the health and safety of ourselves as well as of humanity.
We also don’t yet know how Ramadan will actually look; a lot can change between now and then. We should make lots of dua that the houses of Allah are up and running by that time, and that the health concerns are much reduced by that time. Ameen.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. When things are out of our hands, it is best to put our trust in Allah and do whatever we can. Even though this all began so close to Ramadan, we can still prepare ourselves for that special time of the year in many ways.
May Allah protect us all and make this Ramadan a blessed one for the Ummah.