Coronavirus won't ruin Ramadan – it will remind us what it's all about

The month of Ramadan has always been a time for Muslims to reflect on those less fortunate than themselves. As Covid-19 sweeps the globe, it's come at an important time

Rabina Khan
Thursday 19 March 2020 15:20 GMT
Coronavirus: How to become a 'super-preventer' and help halt pandemic spread

The month of Ramadan has always been a time for Muslims to reflect on those less fortunate than themselves. As Covid-19 sweeps the globe, this holy month is particularly so.

This year Ramadan falls in April, and will be immensely challenging. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has called for the suspension of mosque congregations, while the British Board of Scholars and Imams (BBSI) has advised people to perform daily prayers at home. In many cases, this will mean omitting certain prayers – such as Tarawih, usually prayed in pairs – yet at this time, the health of the community is paramount.

My family and I always Iook forward to Ramadan; yet we know it will be different this year. There will be no large Iftar (fast-breaking) meals with friends and family, no communal gathering for Ramadan prayers.

But it is not only Muslims whose worship will be affected by Covid-19 in April.

Next month will see celebrations from most of the world’s major religions restricted, be that Easter mass, Passover seders, Hindu Rama Navami or Sikh festival Vaisakhi festivities.

Yet people of faith have always found ways of continuing to observe at times of crisis. In fact, such times can be an opportunity to assess what is important in life, and help other people in whatever way we can.

As the Liberal Democrat peer Navnit Dholakia puts it: “Regardless of faith, let us all see this crisis for all communities coming together, whether it’s a neighbourhood watch group, small groups of people, volunteers and charities reaching out; we all have a role to work together for an antidote of compassion, understanding and altruism. Ramadan is also a month of giving and sharing so let us all ensure that in this difficult time we care for all our communities which make our diverse society the envy of the world.”

A core principle of Islam is helping our fellow human beings. During the coronavirus outbreak, there are many ways we can practice this, whether that be donating to foodbanks, supporting local businesses or checking up on our neighbours.

Growing up in Rochester, one of only a couple of Muslim children in my primary school, I remember my mother packing my Easter basket with food. My classmates’ baskets included baked beans, soup tins and bread; mine included samosas, biryani and roti. The aroma from my basket in the Cathedral did seem to attract a lot of friends.

This year my family, friends, neighbours and I will be following public health guidance, and packing our Ramadan baskets with non-perishable essentials and long-lasting perishables, including soap, long-life milk, pasta, tissues, canned soup, dried fruit, rice, stock cubes and spices.

Crises can bring out the worst in human nature – yet it can bring out the best, too. Regardless of faith, let us channel the spirit of Ramadan to consider those in need. Let us all look out for our friends, family and allvulnerable people at this difficult time, so that we can make it through together.

Rabina Khan is a Liberal Democrat councillor in Shadwell Ward.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in