Ramadan in pandemic

By Siti Fatimah Azzahra binti Zawawi

The difference between a pair of bee’s eyes and a fly’s eyes is that bees always see and look for flowers even at a dump. Yet, a fly always finds trash and garbage even in a beautiful park. People must follow the eyes of a bee to find the good things even in a tough situation. 

Today, all are blessed to welcome Ramadan and grab the opportunity to chase rewards and ask for repentance. Ramadan, the month of forgiveness, blessings and a month where Allah SWT will multiply every good deed, greater than any other month. This holy month of Ramadan should have higher means and targets than previous years. 

Besides, it is the second year people are celebrating Ramadan with COVID-19 pandemic that is slowly coming down. In the process of reaching goals in Ramadan, NGOs and philanthropists are making sure their donations and help get through the needy people. Help is given in the form of food supply such as, rice, cooking oil, eggs, and such. 

One of the significance of Ramadan is to understand the poor, experience hunger, thirst and fatigue and acknowledge the plight of others who are less fortunate. Especially with the on-going pandemic, there are many ways to deliver help such as using Grab, Foodpanda and others that allow people to be social distancing. 

People are encouraged to learn to communicate and work better using smart devices and the internet which later help provide them with online events, lectures and courses. Getting exposed to new knowledge and experience opened up new adventures and beneficial activities to kill time. 

Unlike being in the face to face situation before the new norm where people have to get ready and move to the events to be present physically, there is not much energy to be used and less time consuming during this Ramadan. This gives people a chance to attend a lot more events online than they use to.  

For some, the pandemic has given people more time to do a lot more beneficial activities than ever before. However, with restricted travelling, social distancing and health risk, people are concerned and worried with the current situation now that has been going on for a long time.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of activities that can be done with our loved ones that are near and accessible. For instance, during Ramadan people are highly likely to have iftar together with their family members, roommates, housemates and others because people will eat at the same time after waiting for the call of maghrib prayer. 

After isha’, people will perform taraweeh prayer and enjoy a small feast of ‘moreh’ after taraweeh together. Suhoor is also one of the times in Ramadan where people will again get together and eat. Such routine in Ramadan encourages people to spend valuable time together while doing ‘ibadah to Allah SWT.

Furthermore, the government has restricted the opening of Ramadan bazaar in some places and also iftar that includes mass people in mosques. Less Ramadan bazaars and buffets allow people to be more moderate in buying food for iftar and avoid food wastage. Similar issues of previous Ramadan happened where people are spending excessively for food and end up wasting it. 

Not only that, the government also helps the less fortunate people during the pandemic by giving funds and supply as well. With all of the instructions and order from the government leaders, people have to obey and follow to ensure peace and harmony for the country. 

After the pandemic hit the country, the nation’s leaders are trying their best to maintain order and safety for the people. This month of Ramadan is an opportunity to reverse the situation and pray for the pandemic to stop and for things to turn into how they used to be before.

As stated, Ramadan is the month of blessing where prayers are granted. Thus, people should make du’a and pray for this pandemic to be over and the economy to recover. The Qiyam Al Layl is conducted in a number of mosques during this Ramadan. There are some prayers that should be included considering the current situation. 

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ، وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

  1. In the name of Allah, in whose name there is none who can harm the earth or the heavens, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.

Abu Daud No. 5088, Al Tirmidzi No. 3388

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ البَرَصِ، وَالْجُنُونِ، وَالْجُذَامِ، وَمِنْ سَيِّئِ الْأَسْقَامِ

  1. O Allah I seek refuge with You from vitiligo, insanity, leprosy [2] and bad diseases.’

Al Nasai’ No. 5493

أَعُوذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّاتِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ

  1. I seek refuge with the perfect word of Allah from all the evils that Allah SWT has created.’ surely nothing will happen that harms you.

Besides that, the Mufti has advised the people and the mosque management to include Qunut Nazilah when performing each congregational obligatory prayer and Friday prayer. Following that, people should not depend solely on prayers to reduce the risk and numbers of COVID-19 cases.

As much as people longing to meet and be with their families during Ramadan and planning to celebrate Eid together, they must not break the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and travel if it is unnecessary. There are still though families who are unable to be united due the pandemic for a long time.

Ramadan blesses us with patience and kindness to all no matter the gender, religion, race and status. Hence, people must practice tolerance; giving and lifting the spirit of togetherness that is not unusual for Malaysians with diverse race, culture and religion.

Some non-Muslim celebrities and public figures like Soo Wincci and Alvin Chong have expressed that they too take the opportunity of fasting for hours with Malaysian Muslims who are fasting during Ramadan. Soo Winci stated that she was fasting for 16 hours in Spain for the tenth year. Meanwhile, Alvin Chong said, “I try to fast to give respect to the Muslims who are fasting in the month of Ramadan.”

What is special about Ramadan in this pandemic? When flies only see the bad and smelly trash in a park and bees always try to look for flowers even in bad places, people too can set their mind to what they look for in a situation and how they make the best out of the drawback.***

(This article is written as part of the individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)

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