Ramadan 2020 will be celebrated like no other owing to the effects of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. History have it that even during wars like the word wars I and II, Muslims would congregate and celebrate this month in mosques. Unlike those days, we are now in tougher times where the world is fighting an invisible enemy, the COVID 19 virus.
The novel Coronavirus came into existence late last year (2019). Statistically speaking, this virus has affected over 3.3million people, of which about 235,000 have died. In a bid to control to curb its spread, various governments have been cascading down different public health advisories and directive as per the WHO guidelines.
You must be wondering why Ramadan is vital to a Muslim, right? Here are some things you ought to learn about Ramadan.
Why is Ramadan 2020 so imperative in the Islamic religion?
Ramadan is a hallowed month in which its believers get to honor Sawm (fasting during Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith.
Other than fasting during Ramadan, all believers of the Islamic religion are expected to honor the other pillars which include;
- Shahada(faith in Islam religion),
- Salat(observing prayer five times a day facing Mecca),
- Zakat (giving support and care to the disadvantaged in the community),
- and Hajj (making a pilgrimage to Mecca once in the lifetime of a Muslim.
Muslims believe that during this Holy month, God did reveal the initial verses of the Quran to Prophet Mohammed during Laylat Al Qadr. This been the case, the ninth month of the lunar calendar has been sacred.
In the course of this period, Muslims intensely study the Quran, join in prayer, and participate in charity drives. Over and above, they fast as they reflect on their spiritual lives.
How did they know Ramadan 2020 has started?
In 2020, the month of Ramadan began on the night of the 23rd day of April. Therefore, the first day of the month of Ramadan was the 24th of April, 2020.
You must be wondering how Muslims know the Ramadhan season has started, right?
Here is how they know:
Ramadan period falls in the ninth month of the lunar calendar. Scientific and astronomical methods can help in forecasting Ramadan. In doing so, one can plan for the year’s activities. Nonetheless, predicting the specific day may be somewhat controversial. For the season to officially begin, the Islamic leaders must have sighted the crescent moon and declared it.
The 29 to 30-day fasting period ends in a three-day festivity of breaking fast known as Eid-Ul-Fitr. This year, it is expected to end on the 24th of May. It is during this period that the invisible new moon sets in.
What goes on in Ramadan?
In this consecrated month, the main activities are among them fasting, prayers, charity, and compassion.
For any Muslim who has hit the age of puberty, the 29-day period calls for a change in daily schedules.
For starters, believers wake up long before dawn and come up with Niyyah (intention) for the day. After attending the morning prayers, they go ahead and have Suhoor. Here, they will take morning meals and lots of fluid to hydrate them before the sun rises.
When the dawn breaks, the Muslim follower is supposed to abstain from foods, drinks, or any ingestible substance, including water, alcohol, or smoking. Married believers are also not to engage in sex during this period. As the disciples of the Islamic religion do this, they ought to reevaluate themselves and engage in acts of selflessness, compassion, and forbearance. It is important to note that not everyone is a viable candidate to the day’s fasting. All those who are ill, or women who are either menstruating, breastfeeding or, pregnant are not to fast as it would affect their health.
At sundown, the Muslims break their day’s fast. At this time, families and friends assemble to talk about their daytime experiences and share Iftar (the evening meals). After this, they proceed to the mosque for Tawarih
Besides fasting, sharing with the less fortunate in the community is emphasized in this season.
Caring for the needy in the month of Ramadan
Traditionally, they would bring foodstuffs, clothes, and even alms outside the mosques, and those in need would get them from there.
Has there been any effects COVID-19 pandemic on Ramadan 2020?
By large, the answer is yes!
With the COVID-19 pandemic blooming in every nation, Ramadhan is one of the traditions that will be affected wholesomely. The impact will be felt loudly right from the time of preparation to its culmination.
Getting ready for the celebrations.
Usually, as the predicted month of Ramadan approaches, members of the Islamic community start preparing.
Unlike the other years, this Ramadan will see most Muslims at home. In most countries, only essential services are running while the entire system is under lockdown.
Additionally, With the public health directives, shoppers are facing crises ranging to shortages of the essential items to limited access to the shopping services. With the restrictions hitting the global transport grid, some of the communities are almost running out of food. Other changes like a limit in the number of shoppers at a time, coupled with the dusk to dawn curfews have also overshadowed Ramadan preparations.
Prayer and other modes of worship
Ideally, Muslims congregate in mosques five times a day to pray facing Mecca. They will, at the Ramadan period, spare some time to meet in groups to study the religion as well as learn the Quran together.
Ever since WHO posted advisories on social distancing, it may be tricky to congregate in either the mosque for prayers or to attend Halaqahs.
Furthermore, nations have also ordered the closure of mosques and other places of worship. The iconic mosques in Islamic traditions like the Great Mosque of Mecca, the Mosque of Medina, and others like Jamia masjid of Kashmir and Al-Aqsa of Jerusalem have not been spared.
The jubilations during Iftar
Customary, the Iftar is the time of the day when Muslims get to socialize. Families and friends come together and share a meal as they discuss their daytime experiences.
The public health directives that have been issued by WHO has been impeding public and social gatherings. Going by the guidelines, a social and safe distance of at least 3 feet (1 meter) has to be maintained if you cannot avoid these gatherings. Additionally, the WHO advised that the meetings should be short to escape the risk of contracting Coronavirus.
Charitable events and activities
While it is part of the five pillars to give and take care of the poor and needy in society, this year, things may be different.
Typically, congregants bring zakat with them to the mosque, and modalities would be designed to ensure distribution. At Ramadan, a massive multitude of people is attracted to the mosque as they receive the donated alms.
With the government directives to keep a safe and acceptable distance, the multitudes will be a thing of the past. In any case, charitable events will have to take a new yet controlled shape to conquer the spread of Coronavirus.
Right from its preparation, things will take an entirely new form. It is during this period that the Muslims will be seen in big numbers hopping from one shop to the other in the shopping mall buying new clothes, foodstuffs, and even decorations for their houses.
In 2020, the novel Coronavirus has left every human fugitive. The malls are already empty and going by the projections; things may not have improved by the end of next month.
The love, generosity, charity, and even reflecting on your spiritual being should not be halted because the China born Coronavirus is haunting the human race. In fact, Ramadan may not be the same this year, but the spirit behind Ramadan should be kept alive. so, instead of just waiting for the pandemic to be over, get creative ways through which you can reach out to your family, friends and the community.