Ramadan is the time of year Muslim families come together and reflect on the blessings in their lives. In 2020, Ramadan is expected to begin on Thursday 23 April, and will end with Eid al Fitr celebrations in late May, with exact dates to be announced by the UAE’s moon-sighting committee.
Many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims will fast daily, from sunrise to sunset for around 30 days, with exemptions for young children, women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating, travellers and the sick. With the world battling against the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE Fatwa Council have confirmed those suffering COVID-19 symptoms, and frontline medical workers, are also exempt.
With social distancing measures in place, and restrictions on movement and travel around the world, how can we spend Ramadan at home in the UAE?
Iftar at home
With movement restricted around the country and restaurants closed for dine-in, it’s an opportunity to eat Iftar and Suhur at home with your family. Instead of visiting friends and extended family members, stay safe at home to reflect on your blessings and share Iftar together.
Prepare Iftar with younger family members teaching them traditions, or order Iftar boxes to be delivered to your home or as gifts to family and friends to show you are thinking of them.
Staying at home doesn’t mean you have to disconnect from the community. Host a virtual Iftar with family and friends, and share stories whilst gathering online. In the UK, the Ramadan Tent Project is hosting virtual Iftar to unite the Muslim community. There will be a live call to prayer and guest speakers, streamed live on Facebook and through online meeting room via Zoom.
Here in Dubai, Ramadan Canons will still be fired as a signal to end fast for the day, however visitors won't be allowed on site to view the tradition. Instead, the canon fire will be aired on TV to view at home with family.
Feel the spirit of Taraweeh prayers at home
With social distancing measures in place, going to the Mosque for Taraweeh prayers as a group isn’t possible this year in the UAE. However, as Taraweeh prayers and reading the Quran may refresh your soul during the nights of Ramadan, reciting verses memorised or reading from the Holy Book is a great experience to share at home with your loved ones.
Time to learn
As adults, there is now an opportunity to read more of the Quran and learn more about Islamic history and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and other prophets stories told in the Holy Quran.
Small children can get involved in prayers by setting up prayer mats, learning about routines and rituals, and they could even make their own DIY masjid for the home. For those a little older, hold short discussions about Islam, a great way to build knowledge or create a welcoming environment to ask questions.
Relax and reflect
With more time at home, and less hustle and bustle, you can create a relaxing and calm environment to pause and reset for the year ahead. Practice mindfulness with breathing exercises, yoga or colouring in activities to ease a restless mind. Start to plan for a more positive time ahead with your loved ones.
Stay at home
Although Ramadan is traditionally a time to socialise and spend time with friends, family and the wider community, it is now more important than ever to stay at home and avoid meeting and greeting.
With the COVID-19 virus still spreading through the world, abide by the advice from WHO and the UAE government on staying safe and healthy, and follow the guidance from the UAE Fatwa Council and Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department for official announcements and information sources.