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Ramadan During Quarantine

No iftar parties, no suhoor runs...this Ramadan was different

The samosas are stuffed with potatoes and peas, the chickpeas are perfectly seasoned with chaat masala and the chia seeds sink to the bottom of the jugs of chilled rooh afza, all waiting to be devoured by my hungry family members. For thirty nights my family will gather together before sunset waiting for the adhan, the call to prayer, in order to break our fast. Ramadan is celebrated across the world by almost 1.6 billion Muslims and is a time for iftar parties, late nights praying taraweeh and suhoor runs with your entire Muslim squad.

Not this year, unfortunately.

 This year, Ramadan is completely different. With COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders, the majority of mosques around the world are closed and people are not celebrating with their communities every night. There are no iftar parties or late night adventures after taraweeh. This year allows Muslims to celebrate Ramadan differently.

With the new challenge of social distancing, Muslims this year can reflect on the core principles of Ramadan. Besides fasting from dawn until dusk, praying and reading the holy Quran, Ramadan is also a time to value charity, self reflection and empathy.

If you are able to say no to the basic human needs, food and water, throughout the day, you will be able to practice self control from other negative temptations in life. The purpose of Ramadan is to clean our soul by practicing self discipline and empathizing for those who are unable to eat everyday, thus encouraging generosity throughout the month.

As the virus spreads and takes nearly 53,000 American lives, access to food will continue to become a challenge. This Ramadan, Muslims can volunteer and donate at food pantries.

Schools have all shifted to online platforms and nearly 22 million students across the country rely on reduced-price or free school lunches. Some of these students might not be able to receive meals they normally would at school. Muslims can donate to local organizations as well as reach out to your local representatives in Congress to advocate for their needs if they are unable to pay rent or other expenses.

 This Ramadan I am thinking of ways to show my appreciation for grocery store cashiers, healthcare workers, delivery workers, truck drivers, gas station clerks, mail carriers and many more essential workers still having to go to work each day. I am trying to find ways to support small business and local grocery stores that might not be able to recover after the pandemic.

 As I celebrate Ramadan with my parents and brother, I am thinking about all the Muslims across the world who might be able to celebrate with their families. Muslims who are separated from their families due to war and inhumane border policies. I am thinking about the many families affected by the coronavirus and ways to eradicate some of the pain coming from this virus. As I stay at home this Ramadan, I am taking time to reflect upon the core belief of Islam: humanity.

Main artwork produced by South Asian Today's designer, Ayonti Mahreen Huq, @proartcrastinator

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About the author

Ammarah is a Muslim Pakistani-American educator and learner. Her work revolves around facilitating dialogue about the Muslim American identity. Ammarah is passionate about teaching and taught classes about race and identity at American University and has taught English in Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan. 

Instagram: @ammarahrehman | Tweets: @ammarahrehman_



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