The smell of piping hot, delicious samosas fills the house while you and your cousins set the table for iftar. The adhan starts to play from multiple cell phones at once, and you hand dates to your aunts and uncles. Everyone breaks their fast, eyes eagerly looking at the abundant spread of food set on the table.
Bellies are full and hearts are content. You arrive at the masjid and are overjoyed to see the smiling faces of community members who have gathered for taraweeh. The atmosphere in the mosque is indescribable. You stand in prayer, thankful to be witnessing another Ramadan.
It’s 3:00 am, and you’ve spent the night at qiyam with the friends you grew up with, learning from the esteemed Shuyookh of your community. You head out to a 24/7 diner to enjoy suhoor, asking for a few extra pitchers of water to be brought out to the table.
That’s usually how Ramadan goes.
But this year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, things are different.
Doors to the masajid are closed. Restaurants are only allowing take-out or delivery. Social gatherings with friends and family won’t be occurring. And while this all feels strange as we enter into this blessed month, there are things we can do to keep the spirit and excitement of Ramadan alive, InshaAllah.
Set Your Ramadan Goals
Since many of us will be working from home or completing classes online while quarantine remains in effect, preparing for Ramadan will help us maximize our time in this blessed month. Plan ahead by writing down your goals for the month and allocating time each day to achieve your goals
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “The most beloved of deeds to Allah
are those that are most consistent, even if they are small.”
This hadith reminds us that we should set realistic goals for ourselves, things we can do consistently each day to get closer to Allah SWT.
For example, if your goal is to recite the Qur’an once during Ramadan, dedicate time to recite 1 juz per day. Allocating a specific time during the day to this goal (for example, every day after fajr) will, InShaAllah, enable you to achieve your goal.
I personally print out blank calendar sheets for Ramadan and write down what I want to accomplish. This prevents me from getting overwhelmed and allows me to stay organized with respect to my ‘ibadah goals.
Focus on the Fardh
While there are many things we can do to worship Allah SWT and get closer to our deen, the most important thing is perfecting our fardh, or obligatory, acts of worship.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “The first thing for which a person will be brought to account
on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayer. If it is sound, he will be successful,
and if it is lacking in any way, he will be doomed.”
We all know the importance and significance of prayer, and we should always strive to perfect our salah. For instance, since many of us will be home for the majority of the day, there’s no reason to delay salah. Try to make a habit of praying as soon as the adhan comes in, and encourage your family to pray together.
Fasting is one of the pillars of Islam, and the most well-known obligatory act of worship during Ramadan.
However, there are many things that complete our fast. First and foremost is the niyyah, or intention, to fast. This is a necessary part of observance, and should be done each and every night. Setting a calendar reminder each night is a great way to make sure you don’t miss it. Furthermore, we must be cognizant of what we think, say, and do, and refrain from what is forbidden to us while we are in a state of fasting.
Charity is an important aspect of our faith. It keeps us grounded in our humanity and keeps us humble. There’s no shortage of causes and charities we can donate to, so try to make a habit of giving every day during Ramadan, even if it is a small amount. Not only will you be rewarded for your generosity, God willing, but donating every day will ensure that you do this deed on Laylatul Qadr, a night better than one thousand nights.
Whatever good deeds you do on this night, including the giving of charity, you will be rewarded as if you did these deeds for 83 years! SubhanAllah. And it’s never been easier. By setting up automatic payments with MyTenNights, you’ll guarantee your donation on Laylatul Qadr and reap the rewards.
As adults, we understand the importance of staying home during the current pandemic, and we are saddened at the thought of completing our Ramadan at home rather than in the masjid. Our kids will be affected by this as well, and we should do activities as a family to foster the love and excitement around our blessed month.
Make it festive
Create a dedicated place of worship in your home and allow your children to get involved in the decorative process. Encourage them to make some Arabic calligraphy (there are great templates online that can be printed for free!) Have them pick out a prayer rug and masbaha for them to use for every salah. Encourage your sons to call adhan and iqamah. These small things will incorporate special, personal touches into the kids’ days and make them excited about amadan and prayer.
Learn hadith together
Growing up, my family would gather after dhuhr prayer, read a hadith, and go over the commentary. It spurred great conversations and was a fun, interactive way to learn about our deen.
Video chat with relatives
Just because we aren’t gathering with our family and friends this Ramadan doesn’t mean we have to disconnect ourselves. Alhamdulillah, we live in a time when technology is readily available to us. The importance of preserving family ties is mentioned many times in the Qur’an and hadith, so not only does keeping in touch with family count as an act of worship, it’s an activity that the whole family can enjoy together, no matter where in the world they happen to be/
Get excited for Eid.
This Ramadan, families around the globe will be praying Eid salah at home with their families. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get dressed up and celebrate it any differently! Keep the joy and excitement around Eid alive by dressing up, taking photos with your family, and preparing a special Eid breakfast. And don’t forget to practice the sunnah of Eid day!
I pray Allah SWT blesses us and our families with health and safety. I pray He accepts our efforts this Ramadan and brings us closer to our family and community, despite the distance between us. I pray He fills our homes and lives with barakah. I pray Allah SWT blesses us with goodness in this world and goodness in the aakhira. Ameen ya Rabbul ‘Alameen.