This is a Ramadan like no other. And that makes it all the more meaningful. Because of coronavirus and the necessary restrictions on our movements here in the UAE and across much of the world, it will be time spent at home.
If the essence of fasting is to spend more time in reflection and prayers, then indeed we are blessed to be spending Ramadan with our family this year.
To forgo the rhythm of congregational prayers and socialising during this time of the year is not easy, but we must not forget that safety comes first. The fear of infection in any large public gathering is still fairly high
It is not only a time to show our spiritual appreciation for those we love but also a time to show that we, as Muslims, care for others.
In the UAE this human spirit is not new. Recently His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched the ‘10 million meals’ campaign, the nation’s biggest food distribution drive, to support low-income families and individuals affected by the Covid-19 outbreak across the UAE.
The campaign will run in the holy month of Ramadan and enable people to make a financial donation towards purchasing cooked meals and food parcels for distribution among hard-hit individuals in these challenging circumstances.
Since Ramadan encourages us to show empathy towards the less fortunate, those of us who can must join in these efforts of generosity and reach out to the needy. And we can do that — online — within the safety and security of our homes.
As a precautionary measure taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the authorities have encouraged people to continue their prayers at home.
This week the UAE Fatwa Council clarified that the faithful must perform the special Taraweeh prayers at home during Ramadan.
The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department of Dubai Government also announced that prayers should be done at homes as mosques are closed as part of the country’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
True Ramadan is as much about fasting as it is about self-discipline, self-control and personal sacrifice.
To forgo the rhythm of congregational prayers and socialising during this time of the year is not easy, but we must not forget that safety comes first. The fear of infection in any large public gathering is still fairly high.
So too is knowing that in maintaining social distancing and following official guidelines, we are ultimately protecting our family, society and the country.
May our act of fasting, prayers, self-sacrifice and compassion during this holy month help ease the collective suffering of all mankind.