Every year, as we anticipate Ramadan, Muslims look forward to the mosques being full again. However, in total submission to the will of Allah, the mosques will be empty for Ramadan 2020.
This year, Ramadan will definitely be like no other due to the pandemic which has brought the world to a standstill.
This year’s Ramadan is with a lot of uncertainties. No public lectures. No collective iftar. No congregational Taraweeh. No Eid prayer. These and a number of doubts have crossed the minds of Muslims all over the world.
Traditionally during Ramadan, Muslims would troop in large numbers to the mosques after breaking the day’s fast in order to observe Taraweeh (last prayer of the night) in the congregation.
Mosques all over the world have, however, been closed to curb the spread of the pandemic.
A recent statement from the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, the Fatwa committee that met via zoom, has resolved that all forms of religious gathering in the month of Ramadan be suspended to avoid the spread of the virus.
Although Taraweeh can be observed individually, as the prophet Muhammad was reported to have done most of the time, out of concern that it would be mandated on Muslims.
The majority of Muslims prefer to observe Taraweeh in a congregation because it fosters the feeling of togetherness and kinship among them. It also affords them an opportunity to listen to beautiful and soothing recitations from the Quran.
With Taraweeh out the picture this year, many have been wondering how to fill the vacuum.
Speaking on the effect of lockdown on Ramadan, Sheik AbdulQoyoum Omidiji of Markaz told PREMIUM TIMES that the situation is very sad because congregational prayers and public lectures will be hindered.
“It is saddening because this year’s Ramadan wouldn’t witness congregational acts of worship like breaking the fast and praying in a congregation as a result of the lockdown. These are activities that help to strengthen the bond of Muslims, that are highly anticipated in the month of Ramadan,” he said.
Although this year’s Ramadan will witness a deviation from the well-known traditional practices, it is not without its silver linings. Cleric Omidiji gave a list of beneficial activities that can help maximise the full benefit of Ramadan while staying at home.
Pray as a family
This Ramadan allows family members to observe the mandatory and voluntary prayers in a congregation, an act that is very rare among family members. This will foster the sense of togetherness one feels during Ramadan while strengthening family bonds. Instead of brooding on the locked mosques, Muslims can create a mosque in every home and keep the houses alive with the remembrance of Allah.
Learn as a family
This Ramadan provides an opportunity for parents to build themselves spiritually as well as their children and wards. There is ample opportunity for Muslims to engage in the recitation and learning the meanings of the messages of the Quran. There is also the chance of engaging in lots of supplications without fear of being disturbed or having to worry about tight work schedules.
For Muslims in peaceful environments, who are alive and well and who have access to perform religious rites, here is a chance to empathise with other people who are not so lucky, as well as reflect on the mercies of their Lord upon them. Lend to your Lord a beautiful loan and expect Him to repay in multiple folds. This period is especially hard on a lot of people and many Muslims will find it difficult to feed during Ramadan. Comfortable Muslims can make it a point to feed at least one struggling family along with theirs during this trying time.
Use the media
Muslims can employ the media as a means of listening to lectures during this Ramadan without having to join gatherings. Lectures can be streamed online, listened to on radio and television. For those who work from home, lectures, chapters of the Quran and prayers can be played in the background, to keep up the spirituality in the home. Parents can listen to and memorise the Quran with their children.
READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Buhari issues Ramadan warning
Make the Quran your companion
During this period of lockdown, Muslims should recite the Quran a lot since they don’t have to go to work, this would afford them judicious use of their free time while at the same time, engaging in act of worship which will be rewarded by their Creator. This year’s Ramadan is indeed a blessing in disguise. If the free time is used judiciously, the tongues of Muslims will remain moist with the remembrance of Allah.
Random acts of kindness
There are some acts that we see as mundane but are actually weighty in goodness. They are very simple things to do but the effect on the recipient of these good deeds makes them great in reward. Is there any reward for good order than good?
Here are some examples of casual acts of kindness we can engage in for the holy month; smiling, forgiving someone, controlling your anger, avoiding backbiting, saying prayers for your parents and relatives, give cold drinks for someone to break his fast, spread the greeting of salaam (peace). No matter how small you think your effort is, it doesn’t go past the notice of your Lord and the most beloved deed to Him is the one you do continuously.
Pray and seek forgiveness
There is no better time to ask for something from your Lord than when you are in total submission, sacrificing your enjoyment to His will and depriving yourself of food, drink, and sexual pleasure in obedience to Him. He said ask and He shall give.
Be grateful to Him no matter your condition, because it could have been worse. Bow down in worship to Him and ask for His forgiveness in utmost humility and honesty. For at least 70 times in a day, seek forgiveness for you may not know that an act of sin is in the way of your breakthrough.