Last year I wrote about what a typical Ramadan in a Muslim household feels like. This year Ramadan comes and possibly will end during a worldwide pandemic. It will have a different flavor and different challenges.
A big part of Ramadan is about community. Eating the iftar/breaking-of-fast meal with the community at the mosque or at home with family and friends is a big part of the daily practice. However, with places of worship currently closed, and social distancing guidelines being implemented everywhere, that aspect will not be possible. Luckily, Islam can be practiced no matter the circumstance or place. And if we just put in a bit more effort and planning we could possibly make this the best Ramadan our families have experienced together.
I don’t know about you, but my kids have been sad and concerned about this Ramadan being very different. Here are some tips for making the best of your Ramadan during the stay-at-home order:
Instead of community meals and gatherings, we can share food with others. Either by cooking it ourselves and delivering it (contact-free). Or ordering food from a restaurant and having it delivered as a gift to someone (therefore supporting local businesses).
Contribute to Charity
Ramadan is the month of giving. There are so many local and international causes that accept online donations. Set a goal to make a daily donation (no matter how small) to a different cause every day of the month.
Set the Atmosphere
Decorate the home. Putting up a simple banner or hanging string lights/lighting candles can set a cozy and relaxing mood. Crafting decorations with the kids will get them motivated.
Count Down to Eid-al-Fitr*
Despite the challenges of fasting, Ramadan is a joy and it is always sad when it comes to an end. That’s why we are commanded to celebrate the end with Eid-al-Fitr. Setting up a countdown calendar will give everyone something to look forward to. We like to hang balloons around the house. 30 balloons for 30 days, each balloon containing 1 or two jellybeans or M&Ms for each kid. We pop one at the end of the day. There are so many different ways to do this, have the kids come up with an idea of how they’d like to do it.
Ramadan is about doing more good. Try helping others in your community. Even grabbing a grocery item for someone while you’re on your normal grocery run could be extremely helpful.
Shift to a Spiritual Focus That’s Uplifting
To help myself, I like to set an area in the home to pray in. I furnish it with a pretty prayer mat and anything else that brings me joy and calm. I also like to use a Ramadan Checklist to keep me on track with my personal daily goals.
Many people rely on the congregational prayers performed at the mosque to keep up with tradition and to keep up the momentum. However, we can create a congregation at home with our spouses and kids and make it a routine to pray together. Parents and older children can take turns sharing some reflections during a daily circle time. Many resources are available online if not available at home.
Cleanse Your Heart—and Your Closet
Focusing on the inward and working towards improving the self is a big part of Ramadan, which also includes purging out our homes and setting things aside for donation. Kids can help with this too!
*Eid-al-Fitr is one of the biggest Muslim holidays, it comes right after Ramadan.