Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi /Maimoona Harrington - SpokaneFāVS

This Ramadan Is Unlike Any Other, But Remember: God is Everywhere

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By Maimoona Harrington

Today the total dynamics of our societies have been impacted by a tiny invisible  microscopic germ. Yes, I am talking about the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). 

So much has changed in our societies from social distancing to virtual hugs, virtual schools, virtual health care visits, virtual sermons (Khutbahs), restricted and limited trips to grocery shopping. The Internet has become our rescuer to keep us connected on all platforms. Along with its fear and uncertainty, COVID-19 has also brought some new opportunities and has opened our minds to look at things differently. 

One of its impacts is the way it is transforming the religious practices regardless of one’s faith. While we can accept to socially distance ourselves from our neighbors, colleagues, family and friends, it has become a challenge for many of us to grasp the concept of virtual connection with our churches, synagogues, temples and mosques and not being able to attend sermons together or to perform congregational prayers. Christians were unable to gather this month on Easter Sunday and Muslims around the world will especially be feeling this change during the holy month of Ramadan April 24 – May 23 (in the USA).

For Muslims worshipping and offering of prayers to their Almighty Allah (God) is a daily ritual however, in Ramadan (the month of fasting) it is considered more rewarding and more blessed of all times to connect with Allah. Muslim communities all over the world prepare themselves for Ramadan with zest. In the West, especially in United States it’s a community affair. People break their fasts together in shape of community iftars at the Islamic centers and offer congregational prayers throughout the night. This year the pandemic has altered how Ramadan will be practiced and celebrated. 

This month is also sacred for visiting Makkah and Medina (Islam’s holiest sites). Those who can afford it from all over the world find it more rewarding and fulfilling to spend it in Makkah and Medina. This gives them the sense of belongingness with fellow believers and feel the sacredness of the Holy Masajid’s and the House Of Allah.  

Unfortunately this year many of those Muslims won’t be able to visit the holy sites as Makkah and Medina are shut down for congregational prayers and Umrah pilgrimage. It’s upsetting to many and hard to accept by many. 

Islam is not the only religion that is facing these repercussions, all other religions that practice and worship in congregations are also feeling the impact of this social distancing. 

The Internet has become our only hope to keep us connected to our world of education, spirituality, faith, family and friends. I want to emphasize to everyone that there is one connection that is not dependent on anything and it’s our direct connection with our Creator and our Almighty God. 

We must remember that we are still able to communicate with Him even without our traditions or other programs. During these times of disparity, struggle and survival do not forget to connect with that connection.

If you are alone and even feel isolated, talk to him, He will hear you. Even through your unspoken words you will be connected. Faith or no faith, prayers and meditation require no barriers, no platforms and no connections. 

What this pandemic has taught us that we do not need mosques, synagogues, churches, temples or meditation grounds to connect to God, our Creator or whatever we believe in. It’s only our customs and traditions that makes us feel like we must all join together to be connected but we do not! We can connect from the sanctuary of our own homes.

Remember God is everywhere, and He is our one and the true guardian. Once these hard times are over, we can eat, pray and meditate together.  

I will end my note by sharing this video made by my niece to depict what is Ramadan. Hope you like it. Enjoy  

 

Maimoona Harrington

About Maimoona Harrington

Maimoona Harrington was born and raised in Pakistan moved to the United States with her family in 2008. She is married and a mother of two sons. She has a bachelor’s degree in Islamic studies and sociology from Pakistan and a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from United States. Along with her career as an interpreter, translator and monitor she is also an Islamic and Pakistani Culture Adviser.

As a practicing Muslim with the extensive world travel and living in the West, she has devoted herself to spread awareness of Islam as a goodwill gesture. In an effort to do this she started writing from her own personal experiences with religion, beliefs and life in a different culture. She also has special interest in all the religions and how and why they are all important to its followers. Her primary focus is on the co-existence and harmony between all human beings. Her message is to spread peace not division. She strongly believes that if you want to be closer to your creator then love His creation unconditionally and expect nothing in return for He loves us unconditionally and forgives us no matter how sinful we are!

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