Ramadan will be different this year…

To many Muslims, the concept of staying away from mosque during Ramadan is unimaginable, having big family gatherings cancelled for iftar is devastating, and being absent from taraweeh is heartbreaking. However, due to our current and very unexpected circumstances, physical distancing from our community will have to be transformed to a more potent spiritual and virtual closeness- and embraced for that matter!

In the beginning of Islam, the Prophet (saw) and his Companions did not observe Ramadan as we do now. There were no big gathering during iftar, they ate alone in their homes. Taraweeh was not widely practised, solitude and internal contemplation was instead encouraged. These rituals were observed in such a way that focus and Purpose were enhanced and elevated.

Nowadays, our iman and our conviction is starkly weak compared to that of those in the time of the Prophet (saw). We are in desperate need of community to keep us afloat and motivate our intentions into conviction and action. In Ramadan we crave community and gatherings; we need the mosque to unite us in prayer, we need an imam to keep us standing in our worship. But we now find ourselves in a time where our own strength and certainty in faith are tested. This Ramadan is an unfamiliar ground for many of us (specifically those who have not taken part in the practice of etikaaf). Now more than ever, we must come together as a community and exercise positivity and gratitude for the freedom we have and ability to observe Ramadan at all this year.

This is the year we will take a trip back to the roots of our faith, where we will discover the true spirit of Ramadan! 

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Photography by Nadeem Ghafur @nadeemghafur
Medrassa al-Attarine/Fez, Morocco

“This year we have to adapt, make an extra effort, but nothing
changes really other than the fact we will see less people –
remember our beloved Messenger used to self isolate in a cave for a month at a time, therefore we know there can only be real
wisdom in the benefits of isolation – we just have to use the time to find the benefits.”

Ashfaq Siddique, Secretary, BMA (Barking Muslims Association)
(Al Madina Mosque, Barking)