Ramazan In The Time Of Pandemic

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Friday prayers at a mosque in UAE

Riyaz Ahmad Dar

THE BLESSED month of Ramazan is here again to give us opportunity for seeking Allah’s mercy. On it’s arrival, there is a spiritual feeling of freshness which envelopes us. We try to detoxify our souls through prayers and body by fasting. We repent for our sins and reflect on our shortcomings. From dawn to dusk, we remain steadfast.

This was the time when we would increase our attendance across the mosques. Mosques everywhere used to be  jam-packed with ‘Ramzan Nimazies’. We saw unusual rush and enthusiasm among the people. Sahar Khan’s beating the drums and calling out Waqt-e-Sahar at the top of their lungs.  At the time of breaking our fast at Iftar, we used to offer one another dates, juices, fruits and ferrini packets. Ramazan would bring us together with food and friends making it a special occasion to rekindle the past memories and revive the beauty of togetherness. But this year’s Mah-e-Ramzan is going to be all together different and difficult due to the fear of coronavirus.

From Kaaba to Karbala, Mashhad to Medina, all holy places are closed. There will be no religious gatherings. People cannot be put at the risk. Mosques are closed all over the world to prevent the spread of pandemic. There are no Taravih prayers, no Iftar parties, no daily Quranic majalis. We are caught in a grave situation but we cannot give up our hopes on the mercy of Allah. Things won’t be the same the way they used to be but we should capitalise on the opportunity that Allah SWT has given us. Here we’ve one more Ramazan to observe and seek His forgiveness. Let’s see the brighter side of this terrible situation. In  every adversity there lies an opportunity. Cannot it be a blessing in disguise, as the lockdown means ample time for us to have a thorough observance to all the details and duties enjoined upon us.

Let’s grab this opportunity and stay focused on the path which leads to the salvation. Thankfully, there will be no cacophony of noise in these pandemic times. It is the right time for us to reflect on and discover the nature, discipline and develop our inner selves.

Let’s grab this opportunity and stay focused on the path which leads to the salvation. Thankfully, there will be no cacophony of noise in these pandemic times. It is the right time for us to reflect on and discover the nature, discipline and develop our inner selves. We have to evaluate each and every aspect of life very minutely to get the best out of the situation otherwise the same daily routine will follow and that would certainly make us sick and sluggish. The situation might be desperate and disheartening but it is slowing us down perhaps for our good. It’s also teaching us how to be patient, the most important lesson of Ramazan. We can set back our selves on the path of almighty through purification of soul and the struggle against self.

LET me share with you few personal experiences which might help us to correlate certain things with the present situation. A lot of work needs to be done for our self improvement. Our time is very precious lets look at all those opportunities that are still there for us.

To fight the Covid spread, it has been repeatedly conveyed to us that personal hygiene is the key to remain safe. We Muslims believe that cleanliness is half of the faith. Let’s look into its deeper meaning and realise whether it should matter for us or not.

Few years back, on a pleasant Friday morning I was at Masjid-e-Zahra in Sharjah for Fajr prayers followed by congregational recitation of Dua-e-Nudbah. Post our prayers, an Iranian worshiper praying with us asked a Kashmiri youth who was shabbily dressed about his profession. The youth replied that he was working as Customer Care Representative at a bank. What Iranian told him surprised all those present nearby. He tersely asked the boy whether he meets his boss and customers in the same attire? He had a valid point when he said that isn’t Allah SWT Master of Masters and should not we be prepared in proper attire before visiting Him as well. If we look around our masjids, we won’t be surprised to find many people taking their personal hygiene for granted while they mingle with other worshippers. Many least bother about personal hygiene as we all have met people with bad breath and stinking socks to say the least. Isn’t it necessary to pray in neat and clean attire? Why only office spaces, isn’t it mandatory to visit mosques well dressed and well groomed? Don’t we need to make our visits to places of worship a pleasant affair? It is a healthy pursuit to keep the diseases at bay and also it speaks about our upbringing.

The best thing about spending Ramazan in UAE was the office timings which used to be 10 A -M 2 PM, so that employees could get enough time to relax and pray. There is not much work pressure. People can pray at ease. Everyday in Ramazan, many local Arabs pray and also recite Dua-e-Joshan Kabeer taught by Imam Ali (AS) at crack of dawn.

Due to lockdown we don’t have to attend to our work. The women of our household have always been toiling hard to keep the bits and pieces together. From cooking to cleaning they are doing it for us selflessly with utmost devotion. In this month, doesn’t they deserve our special attention by helping them in daily chores. The present crises can cause price spike and scarcity of food items due to the logistic barriers. Therefore the need of the hour is to create kitchen gardens. Remember, facilitating household responsibilities along with the women folk is nothing less than worship.

Our tongue is the main culprit for many sins that we commit. Hazrati Ali (AS) once said “One who talks too much makes the most mistakes”.  Back bitting will always have adverse consequences and wrath from  Allah SWT. In the confines of our humble abode, with social distancing, maintain social decency as well. Quarantine your heart and mind in the solitudes of Allah’s Zikr.

We used to put on different faces just to fake around but now things have become so strange and suspicious that even our hypocrisies are concealed by the masks which has become a new norm and necessity. With each heavy breath we take underneath, let’s awake our conscience and sanitise our thoughts. Let’s subdue the scandalous Kurdugulo* in us through restrain and fear for Allah.

Bottomline 

We have the time and choice to establish a deeper connection with Allah. Let’s nourish our souls with the spiritual diet  of cleanliness, charity, compassion and character. This pandemic has shown us how fragile is our existence. We can achieve holistic growth and peace only when we suppress and control our Nafse Amara. Our success lies in the deeds which will assure us the right place that we deserve in the hereafter.

Author is a columnist and can be reached at: riyazahm72@gmail.com

*Kurdugulo is the mischievous character in a famous Turkish serial ‘Dirilis Ertugrul’

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