The glorious month of Ramadan is one not strange to all and sundry. Even the least knowledgeable of the Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, knows fully when the month sets in and the standards set by this month. The level of seriousness attained by many, the spirituality and numerous acts of worship, public learning gatherings et al, dominate the atmosphere. Taraweeh at the various masaajid, Tafsir sessions, Iftar gatherings, public lectures, visitations, Umrah (lesser Hajj) amongst others are some of the frequent activities.
Growing up over the years, in the periods that precede this month, many are seen in marketplaces getting the basic necessities for the smooth running of the period while at some quarters, beautification of houses, road, environment and even the body, advertorials by corporate organisations and others take over the sphere.
This status quo has been maintained annually by each concerned but what can one say regarding Ramadan 2020 in the face of the the COVID-19 pandemic which would never wash away from our minds soonest?
With the pandemic, restrictions have been placed on gatherings of any nature including at our masaajid, movement in some states and countries of the world such as Russia, Italy, some parts of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia— where we visit for the lesser Hajj, and other parts of the world. ‘How would we survive this Ramadan?’ is the question flashing through minds whom had been accustomed to the usual community worship during the month.
The taraweeh, Tahajud, Iftar, Tafsir and others won’t take place the usual way. Then which way forward?
In contrast to some quarters whom seem adamant to the ‘Stay at home’ order, Islam places in high esteem the lives of Muslims and people in general and won’t accommodate anything that would bring harm to it and in return affect its worship.
Allah said in Suratul Maidah, Verse 32: “Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidences, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits (e.g. by doing oppression unjustly and exceeding beyond the limits set by Allah by committing the major sins) in the land!”.
The COVID-19 pandemic-caused ‘stay at home’ has led everyone to witness what we were never used to, to get adapted to. Our daily prayers are observed in our homes with our families. Similar things should be done even with more emphasis in the coming month without distractions from social and economic commitments.
In a way, the pandemic could be viewed as a blessing, as it gives Muslims the ability to reconnect with their Creator. Office works, social gatherings and other commitments are on absolute hold till further notice as used in government parlance.
Regularity and punctuality in Solaawat with families, learning and teaching the Qur’an to one another, Al-Usrah (family gathering), Adhkar (remembrance of Allah), Tilaawatul Qur’an, Solaatu Duha and uncountable others should be carried out without pause. The advantages offered by scientific and technological advancement should be utilised by scholars and teachers in educating their students and followers as it was in the status quo. Online teachings via social media or broadcast media should be more and effectively utilised specially during this period.
The Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on all being shepherd comes to mind as the father and by extension, the mother, who heads the family, is saddled with more of the responsibilities of ensuring the compliance of his household to the commandment and worship of Allah.
COVID-19 is not enough a barrier between a Muslim and his Lord coupled with the simplicity of the Islamic faith. In and outside the pandemic, all the actions of a believer must be aimed at attaining the pleasure and mercy of his Lord and see all situations as an advantage to get more connected to Him.
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