2020 – A Different Ramadan

Days of Ramadan

Ramadan is one of the prime time in the Islamic Calendar and Muslim people from all over the world practice it from centuries. Ramadan or Ramaḍān people keep ‘Sawam’ or fasting, the practice of Ramadan means fasting is one of the five pillars of the duties according to them. Muslims may not eat or drink anything including water when the sun shines. One of the most important parts of Ramadan fast is ‘Niyyah’, which is an Islamic concept of thinking and acting to do something for God. Like any other religious practices in Islam, Muslims from the age of 12 can be a part of Ramadan. 

The determination of fast is equally important to the process of fasting. During Ramadan, the person who is practising it, every day from dawn to sunset, and if the fasting is not related to Allah himself only then it is not considered as valid. It is important to spend a disciplined time of spiritual practice, understand the deepness of relationship with God, intense study of the Quran and make more generous and charitable work.  

Ramadan – Tough and Scary Festival?

If you are thinking it is very hard and super serious with no happiness, then you are not right enough. It is the time of celebration, joy and spending quality time with loved ones. The last three days of Ramadan is a big celebration named Eid-al-Fitr easily known as ‘the festival of breaking the fast’. Family and friends get along and have big meals, exchange gifts and have a lovely time. 

Challenges of Ramadan during the lockdown period

A typical Ramadan day starts with waking up and eating the first meal of the day, known as ‘Suhoor’ which will last up to the sunset. Eating a high-protein diet and having lots of water as much as possible is the key to keep going for the long day. Early morning prayer is followed by normal routine life with no exception for work or school. Finally, the fast is broken by ‘Iftar’ literally means ‘breakfast’ before performing the evening prayer. 

This year Ramadan is from April 23 to May 23, 2020. And it is a different scenario for the whole world regarding festivals and celebrations. With the Coronavirus outbreak, many people are not able to visit friends and family or their local mosques during Ramadan. In typical days the mosques remain busy with people for prayers during this time, this year many mosques are holding a virtual prayer for the devotees. Regarding Covid-19 test, no one should be confused as it will not make any difference with the fasting.

 New York City is providing 500,000 free halal meals as the noble calling of Ramadan is to feed the hungry people. It will also help the people who lost their job during this pandemic. Some of the community organisations are distributing 100,000 meals and those who are not able to leave home due to various reasons can get a home delivery upon request. Dubai has updated the partial opening, timings and procedures to shop in the market during this period. 

People are more aligned to do video calling for wishing during these festivals and enjoying the meal at home while sitting in front of devices with friends and long distant family members. 

Tips for healthy Ramadan 2020

  • Thirst is a signal that the body is already dehydrated, drink fluid throughout the night even if you do not feel thirsty. When you have Iftar, taking water before a meal is a good way to make your body hydrated before having any solid food. 
  • Listen to your hunger and eat mindfully during the night as the body takes 20 minutes to understand if it is hungry or full. Add a variety of food during the evening to ensure good nourishment to compensate for the fasting.
  • Keep moving and ensure short walks every day during fasting and do not jump for exercise if you are used to doing it during normal days. Excessive exercise can make you dehydrated faster.
  • Eat fresh fruits, whole grains, proteins, nuts, oats and healthy fats in the morning before starting fast. A balanced meal will keep your blood sugar stable and keep you energetic. If you are a vegetarian then having lentils, soya, tofu or paneer can be helpful to keep your protein balance intact 
  • Celebrate this joyous month with a smile and good wishes even though we all are in a different situation. 

Ramadan is a way to celebrate testimony of faith, prayer, charitable work, helping the needy people and pilgrimage to Mecca. It is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims all over the world as said by Prophet Mohammed, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”

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