This is the second year in a row where Muslims faced Ramadan under a global pandemic. Last year, Ramadan took a different shape than what most of us are used to. There were no Iftar parties, going to mosque for prayers, and seeing family and friends. Muslims all over the world understood the circumstances and were okay with experiencing this blessed season at home for the sake of safety. This year, things took a bit of turn with the pandemic continuing for more than a year. People’s mental health is hitting rock bottom, case numbers are rising and new virus variants are emerging. People simply had to do Ramadan social distancing for the second time, and no one was prepared for the pandemic to last this long. In light of Ramadan coming to an end, we asked some Muslim youth to share their Ramadan experience during the pandemic.
“I gave up something”
This year Ramadan was extremely difficult for me. I tried to do the first few fasts but my mental health just could not bear it. My mental health has been very bad ever since the pandemic started and I know it is like that for a lot of people. For me nutrition is very important, but I also love the concept of fasting. To me Ramadan means giving something up that is so vital to you. Food is so important, but I believe not everyone is able to participate by not eating. I gave up something like social media. To me social media is something I am on for the majority of the day, and I decided to detox and get away from it for my own sanity, but also for Ramadan. This is a bit of a different response I admit, but I loved the way I did Ramadan this year. It all goes down to what works best for you.
“The same old with a twist”
My Ramadan experience during the pandemic was the same old same old. Too much family time, but my friends did manage to go on walks after Iftar while keeping social distance. We would go to a local coffee shop and grab something to drink, and eat and sit on the curb and talk. This was different because we are so used to people coming over to your house. This year was better than last year, because last Ramadan was spent in complete fear and isolation.
“Time to reflect”
As someone who identifies part of the LGBTQ+ community, it is a time for me to look within myself and discover new things. I know my religion is often against my identity, but regardless I am a firm practising Muslim. My faith is very important to me, but I can’t help but think a lot during this time and often judge who I am. Ramadan is a beautiful time for me, but also a very hard one. The lockdown made it harder because I felt isolated from everyone. I also live alone, and so I was unable to see a lot of my family because of the restrictions that the government had implemented in my city.
“I went on a journey”
This past year, I have started connecting with my faith on a profound level. I went through something very traumatic and I feel as if God had saved me. Ever since then I have actively been very connected to my faith, and my relationship with God. This was my first Ramadan after this connection, and it has been a very special experience, I felt as if I went on a journey to connect with my higher self. I learned a lot of patience, discipline, and love for the people around me. I’ve been feeling very grateful lately. The lockdown was difficult at first, but at some level isolation made me find myself, and truly be happy with being alone.
People had a very unique Ramadan experience during the pandemic this year. It is safe to say that if anyone has been feeling down, isolated, or has felt that this Ramadan was the hardest yet that they are not alone. A lot of Muslims this year were in the same boat as you. The best thing we can do is check up on each other through calls, and zoom chats to ensure all our loved ones are dealing with fasting in the middle of a pandemic safe and healthy.
by Mariam Asif – YLT Staff