The Friday Message - Issue No. 353 - Observing Ramadhan during COVID-19

The Friday Message - Issue No. 353 - Observing Ramadhan during COVID-19

Salamun alaykum,

We are now drawing to the close of the first half of shahrullah- the month of Allah SWT. However, no one ever expected Shahru Ramadhan in 1441 A.H. /2020 to look like this. Our world has been turned upside down. This definitely is an unprecedented Shahru Ramadhan which I am witnessing in my life, SubhanAllah. So too are the young people of our Muslim Ummah. This unique Shahru Ramadhan will definitely be one that the Muslims will never forget.

Plodding on:
For one segment of the ummah during this lockdown situation, due to the COVID -19 pandemic, it is a very confusing time. They are isolated, tense and uneasy. For they are experiencing Shahru Ramadhan without family, friends and community. They are desperately missing the traditional lively and celebratory routines such as Iftar/ sehri parties, games and other social events which they have been enjoying in previous Shahru Ramadhan. They do not feel the ‘spirit’ of this blessed month. Thus, will they not be dragging through the days waiting for the month to end?

Mosques in the home:
However, for another segment of the Ummah whilst they are sad that they are not witnessing a communal Ramadhan, but that doesn’t prevent them to make this Shahru Ramadhan the best one of their lives. They strive to make this Shahru Ramadhan turn out to be absolutely an all-time best Shahru Ramadhan of their lives. They hold onto yaqeen-certainty- that this time round, the invitation to the Divine banquet of Shahrullah- month of Allah has been destined by Allah SWT to be during these current circumstances of the lockdown. Therefore, they strive to experience the very special moments for one to seek rahma -Divine mercy and draw closer to servitude of Allah SWT during this blessed month.

They bear in mind that whilst the Mosque doors are closed physically, the gates of Divine Mercy are open. Their nafs- self- is open to receiving an invitation to the Divine banquet of Shahru Ramadhan. This means that for an aabid- devotee of Allah SWT, the paths of ibadah- servitude to Allah SWT are not closed. They always live their faith by bringing the Mosque to their homes, workplaces, leisure and other aspects of their daily lives. They live their faith being more connected to Allah SWT and their loved ones.

The current time frame of lock down and social distancing is providing a wonderful opportunity to appreciate all the blessings that have been taken for granted in previous years. They will discover the pleasure of increased time in private, personal conversations with Allah SWT, the joys of reciting al Qur’an al Kareem and the duas with the family and the pleasures of reaching out to family and friends. They realise that while societal events in previous Ramadhan helped them to feel a communal spirit, they came at the cost of personal development. They shall discover the real meaning of ibadah, one that is independent of acquaintances and congregations.

“ ……….O Allah! Fill this month with our worship of You, Adorn its times with our obedience towards You, Help us during its daytime with its fast, and in its night with prayer and pleading towards You, humility towards You and lowliness before You, So that its daytime may not bear witness against our heedlessness, Nor its night against our neglect..." 4 th Imam Zaynul Aabidin a.s. (Sahifatu Sajjadiya Dua No 44 Welcoming Shahru Ramadhan)

But as much you and I are missing the joy, liveliness of Shahru Ramadhan and the community spirit at al Mahdi Centre yet we do have a unique lifetime opportunity. This is the chance to refocus our efforts inwards by doing what Allah SWT has explained is the purpose of sawm- fasting- during this blessed month. It is to build Taqwa, God Consciousness. (al Qur’an 2:183). These moments of unique Shahru Ramadhan in quarantine is providing us with opportunities of building our tawkkul reliance upon Allah SWT, patience and endurance. It is also an opportunity to appreciate abundant gifts including one’s family, the efforts of devoted volunteers and blessings of belonging to a community.

May Allah SWT make this Shahru Ramadhan the best of our lives. May we emerge stronger in our relationships with Allah SWT, our families and communities. May we return to our al Mahdi centre to celebrate our renewed Taqwa at the end of this blessed month, InshAllah.

As we draw close to the nights of Qadr, let us continue to offer special prayers to Allah SWT, by wasila of Ahlul Bayt a.s. invoking the name of Imam al Asr Sahibaz Zaman (A.F.), for protection of all from the COVID-19 epidemic and for the cure of all who are unwell. May you and your loved ones be granted safety from all calamities. Iltimasi dua.

Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah

Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Resident Alim
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat