M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam
This year, Ramadan is starting in the month of April. Coincidently, April is known as the Earth month and Earth Day is celebrated on 22 April every year. (https://news.syr.edu/blog/2021/04/05/celebrating-earth-day-and-earth-month-in-april/)
Given the present situation of the earth and its inhabitants, the arrival of Ramadan on the Earth month should not be taken for granted because our earth needs the blessings of Ramadan than ever before.
Ramadan in Covid-19 would certainly be difficult and challenging but at the same time, it is a golden opportunity to restore the earth to its pre-Covid state by praying fervently before the One True God and seeking His mercy.
Beyond any doubt, mankind is in dire need of a good relationship with God because trials and tribulations sometimes serve as a reminder that He is not happy with us and we should make every effort to attain His closeness. Muslims would certainly focus more in this Ramadan on asking for the blessings of Allah the Almighty and invoking durood on the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
The spirit of sharing and caring is at its peak in this blessed month as fasting makes one understand the real worth of food and the situation of poor people becomes manifest. Due to the coronavirus, societies are ever more in need of such kindness and compassion.
The prevailing state of affairs should not keep Muslims from doing good and being kind. Everyone should certainly follow the SOP’s and rules set forth by the governments. However, there are many ways to help and support the creation of God and by doing so achieve His love.
The smallest acts of kindness can make a huge difference in the present circumstances. A single phone call to a lonely or unwell person could lift their mood and help them cope effectively with the tragic and harsh conditions.
There is an impressive rise in the number of people who are helping their fellowmen financially and emotionally to get through this rough time. As the third wave of coronavirus is causing immense damage to the economies and hurting people more, we should increase in our generosity and compassion this Ramadan and go a step further than before.
The fifth Khalifa of the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, also drew the attention of people in his Friday Sermon of 24 April 2020 that the spirit of providing for and helping the needy which has come about in the current pandemic should not be limited to it, but should remain at all times.
Muslims living in countries under complete or partial lockdown will certainly feel the lack of huge gatherings in mosques during Salat and especially the Taraweeh prayers. However, they can still offer them at their homes with their families and make every home a mosque. Moreover, the lockdown could serve as a blessing in disguise as there will be more time to attain the nearness of God Almighty by performing supererogatory prayers, reciting the Holy Quran, fulfilling the rights of human beings and striving to shun all bad deeds.
As far as fasting during the current pandemic is concerned, a study carried out in the UK has found that there were no detrimental effects of Ramadan-related practices on Covid-19 deaths. Al Jazeera correspondent, David Child, said, “Researchers analysed death rates in more than a dozen local authority areas in England where the Muslim population was at least 20 percent. They found that deaths fell steadily in these areas during the Ramadan period. Furthermore, this trend continued post-Ramadan, the report said, ‘suggesting that there was no lagged detrimental effect of fasting in the Muslim areas.’” (www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/1/ramadan-covid-fasting)
Referring to the matter of fasting during the Covid-19 pandemic, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“These days, people have been asking as to whether fasting is still incumbent in light of the circumstances and the increased risk of illness. Everyone should analyse their own condition and make their own judgement. I have consulted various doctors around the world on the matter, and their opinion is divided. They say that there is no specific evidence to suggest that fasting would make one more prone to illness, however if there are any indications or symptoms of illness, then one should stop fasting right away.” Moreover, Huzooraa advised people should drink a lot of water at the closing and opening of the fast, and if possible eat such kinds of foods that help retain water. (www.reviewofreligions.org/21647/friday-sermon-summary-24th-april-2020-ramadan-the-means-of-attaining-righteousness/)
Islam teaches every Muslim not to put their lives in danger and also to look after others. Hence, if somebody is unable to fast due to illness etc., they can focus on their weaknesses and leave them one by one. They can also exert more effort in performing the rest of the good deeds and prayers that are mostly accepted in Ramadan as God comes closer to mankind in this month.
And so, everyone should take full advantage of the blessed month of Ramadan by fasting, being generous and coming up with different ways to spread its blessings to the people of their houses, neighbourhoods, cities, countries and the world.