Ramadan amid pandemic

The blessed month of Ramadan is here again to provide us an opportunity for seeking Allah’s mercy. On it’s arrival, there used to be a divine feeling in air. We tried to detoxify our souls through prayers and fasting. From dawn to dusk, we remained steadfast. This was the time when we increased our attendance across the mosques. Everywhere it used to be such a jam packed that not an inch of space was left. We saw unusual rush and enthusiasm among the people. Sahar Khan’s beating the drums and calling out Waqt-e-Sahar at the top of their vocals. Everyone tried to contribute and comfort those who were on the fast by offering them dates, Juices, Fruits,and Ferrini packets. Food and friends made it a special occasion for all of us to rekindle the past memories and enjoy the beauty of togetherness. But this year’s Mah e Ramadhan is all together different and difficult due to the fear of covid contagion.

From Kaaba to Karbala, Mashad to Medina, all holy places are closed. There will be no religious gatherings. People cannot be put at the risk. Mosques are closed all over the world so as to prevent this Pandemic. There will be no Ijetemas, no Tarawehs, no iftar parties, no daily Quran recitation majalis. We are engulfed in a grave situation but we cannot give up our hopes on the mercy of Allah. Things won’t be the same the way they used to be but we should capitalize on the opportunity that Allah SWT has given us one more Ramadan to seek his forgiveness. Let’s see the brighter side of this terrible situation. In every adversity there lies an opportunity. Cannot it be a blessing in disguise, as the lockdown means ample time for us to have a thorough observance to all the details and duties enjoined upon us.

Let’s grab this opportunity and stay focused on the path which leads to the salvation. Thankfully, there will be no cacophony in these Pandemic times. It is the right time for us to discover, discipline, devote, and develop our inner selves. We have to have evaluate each and every aspect very minutely to get the best out of the situation otherwise the same daily routine will only make us sick and sluggish. The situation might be desperate and disheartening but it is slowing us down which can be only pleasant for us when we remain patient. We can set back our selves on the path of Allah through purification of soul and the struggle against our self.

Let me share with you few personal experiences which might help us to  correlate certain things with the present situation. A lot of work needs to be done for our self improvement. Our time is very precious, let’s look at all those opportunities that are still there for us. To fight the covid spread, it has been repeatedly conveyed to us that personal hygiene is the key to remain safe. We Muslims believe that cleanliness is half the faith. Let’s look into its deeper perspective and realize whether it should matter for us or not.

Few years back, on a pleasant Friday morning I was at Masjidi Zehra located on Sharjah corniche for prayers and Dua e Nudabh recitation. Prior to our prayers, one  Iranian called up a Kashmiri boy who was not dressed properly. The said person asked him about his profession who replied him that he was employed in a banking sector as a field executive. The response of the Iranian shell shocked us when he bluntly asked him, that does he present himself before his boss and customers in the same attire? We started sweating profusely and got the point when he said that isn’t Allah SWT Master of Masters and should not we be well dressed,  presentable before Him as well. Observe Arabi and Iranian congregational gatherings we won’t be surprised to find people dressed in cleanest dresses and suits. What better than this to start from this holy month praying in our cleanest and best attire. Cannot we do this much for our Lord and making it a pleasant affair. It doesn’t matter whether you are praying at home or at masjid, remember our representation matters the most be that our job or impressing others, so can we afford to be arrogant when we to stand before our Lord.Not only it will be the healthy pursuit for you to keep the diseases at bay but it will also bring you closer to your creator.

The best thing about spending Ramadan in UAE was the office timings which used to be 10 pm – 2 pm, so that employees could get enough time to relax and pray. Post dinner, local and non locals gather in masjids to offer Tarawehs for many hours. Due to lockdown we don’t have to attend our work. Isn’t it possible for all of us to pray as if every night is the Laylatul Qadar for us and be at peace amid the growing tension.

The women of our household have always been toiling hard to keep the bits and pieces together. From cooking to cleaning they are doing it for us selflessly with utmost devotion. In this month, don’t they deserve our special attention by helping them in daily chores. The other need of the hour is to set kitchen gardens due to alarming situation which can lead to scarcity of food items. Remember, facilitating household responsibilities is nothing less than a ‘Worship’.

Our tongue is the main culprit for many sins that we commit. Hazrati Ali (A.S) once said that more we speak the more we fall into the trap of trash talk and the less we talk, the less will be the objections. Back bitting will always have adverse consequences and wrath from  Allah SWT. In the confines of our humble abode while exercising the social distancing, let’s subdue the scandalous Kurdugulo in us through restrain and fear for Allah SWT.

These are not the ordinary times. We couldn’t envisage where it may end but our people are suffering due to the economic strangulation. Let’s not push the downtrodden against the wall that in the middle of the night they are searching for their Sehri in the trash bins. Everything is in black and white. We are familiar with the living condition of our people. Let’s help them keeping in mind their needs and above everything their self respect.

Bottomline
We have the time and choice to establish a deeper connection with Allah SWT. Let’s nourish our souls with the spiritual diet of cleanliness, charity and compassion.This Pandemic has shown us how fragile is our existence.We can achieve holistic growth and peace  only when we suppress and control our Nafse Amara. Our success lies in the deeds which will assure us the right place that we deserve in the hereafter.

Note: Kurdugulo is a mischievous character in famous Turkish serial ‘Ertugrul’