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