Isolation from friends, family, and other forms of community has affected pretty much every facet of daily life during the coronavirus pandemic, but this effect is amplified even further for Muslims observing Ramadan.
Forced to stay at home in quarantine, many in the Muslim community have had to take an entirely different approach to the month of fasting, prayer, and reflection, finding new ways to deal with the challenges presented by lockdown.
In this video, young Muslims across the world reflect on the ways the virus has impacted Ramadan, and the methods they’ve used to adapt and stay positive. They also share some of what they’ve learnt from the experience. “I’ve learned a lot of self-discipline,” says Natou Fall, “having to sort of observe Ramadan by myself.”
Many Muslims have also found ways to work around coronavirus guidelines and continue to engage with their communities, driving to a public space to gather while remaining socially distant, or taking gatherings online. “I’ve learnt a lot from practicing Ramadan virtually this year,” says Zeina Aboushaar. “I’ve learnt how tight the Muslim community is.”
“I feel like I’ve learnt the lesson that my home is also my mosque,” adds Musu Badat.
Fasting has presented its own issues during quarantine, where low energy levels make it difficult to do things that would normally help keep people distracted. But there are also some positives to coronavirus quarantine: “like you have more time to grow and pray at home.”
As for advice on how to stay positive during this time (which applies equally to those not practicing Ramadan), they recommend “being more understanding to yourself” and looking at the wider picture. “Really trying to look at this as an opportunity to slow down and come back to centre.”
“This is the most time we’re probably going to spend with our thoughts and ourselves,” says Mira Alfarius. “So you might as well use that time wisely.”