It’s hard to get into the spirit of Ramadan during these uncertain and stressful times, especially since going to the masjid and praying in congregation is one of the major events that makes me feel like it’s Ramadan. I know a lot of people are feeling the difference this year because we aren’t able to celebrate the way we are used to.
Five years ago, I went to study abroad and didn’t get the chance to celebrate Ramadan with my family for years. And let me tell you, it’s HARD. I was in the dorms having to eat dorm food and take out for sehri, and I couldn’t go to the masjid and meet with my family friends or have my mom’s food (that was honestly the hardest part, not gonna lie here).
Of course, I had made friends and that made the whole experience so much easier. In order to get into the spirit of Ramadan without our families, my friends and I would do sehri together (with wake up calls to make sure we didn’t miss it!) and have iftar parties every once in a while. They became my family and now I miss that.
When Ramadan first started, we even had a ‘moon sighting committee’ and we would go and see the moon and run around telling everyone Ramadan Mubarak! My friends would take turns having iftar in their rooms, and we would also host proper parties where we didn’t have to bring our own meals and sometimes we’d also dress up! I even made pasta and mashed potatoes for my friends which is a miracle because I literally never cook.
Now, after five years, I’m back home with my family and somehow this feels weirder than being in the dorms. When masjids closed weeks ago and we couldn’t go to Friday prayers, we made our own jumma. We got dressed and prayed together and my dad even did a little qudba which was nice. We tried to get into the spirit of praying at home together. And now that Ramadan is here, we’re all trying to get into the spirit of it by praying together and eating together.
What I’m trying to say is that even when you’re alone, you can get into the spirit of Ramadan by doing the little things. And because of technology, we’re never truly alone (or at least we don’t have to be!). We can host iftar parties online! Or watch some videos with friends and discuss the lessons. I kind of want to do a quiz challenge or something with family.
Ramadan isn’t just about praying at the masjid. While that’s definitely nice, it’s about improving yourself and working to become the best Muslim that you can be. It’s about forming good habits. After all, if you can stay away from food and water (which is literally a necessity) for a whole day, you can stay away from the things that are bad for you. It’s about willpower. It shows that we’re stronger than we think.
“Verily, with every hardship comes ease.” (94:5)
I’ve learned over the last few years that even though it’s easier with friends and family, fasting and praying is a solitary activity. It’s only between us and God, and when you think about it that way, it makes it a little less intimidating to be in isolation. Just a little.
I’ll be honest, Ramadan still feels strange this year because the option to go to the masjid isn’t there. I had a hard time getting into the spirit of it, but now that Ramadan is here and I’m fasting and trying to remember what it’s all about, it feels okay. This month will surely bring us ease and peace. And in sha Allah, we’ll be better off for it!
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Salaam! I’m Rameela from Star is All Booked Up. I’m a medical school graduate and I love to read and take fun bookstagram photos when I procrastinate! I’m especially obsessed with We Hunt the Flame, Percy Jackson, and Tangled!