Ramadan is the time for reflection, for fasting, for giving back.
We, along with fellow Muslims all around the world, celebrate the holiest month in the Islamic calendar by fasting from sunrise to sunset. Fasting (sawm), after all, is one of the pillars of Islam and is considered a form of worship.
After all, it gives us an appreciation of what it is like to have nothing, and this brings us closer to Allah. After that, of course, it beautiful tradition of prayer (the salat), and to break the fast, we would cap the day with the traditional iftar, or a small feast, shared with family and friends.
Before the pandemic, my husband and I would go to the third largest mosque in the world in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Free food is overflowing, and practically truck-loads of people would arrive to partake of the food.
It was always during Ramadan where we experienced the generosity of our neighbors, especially the richer ones, the sheikhs – they would even throw money out of their car windows. They would also send out boxes and boxes of food.
All that has changed, however. The pandemic has forced us to observe strict health protocols, and lockdowns had restricted travel. Even charity events have become scarce.
Even our rich neighbors had stopped giving away food, for health safety reasons.
However, this does not mean that the Ramadan loses meaning because of the pandemic. If anything, it makes us appreciate our closeness to Allah, by reminding us to remain humble, as well as to reflect on and be thankful about life He has given, and be grateful for His continued generosity and blessings.