Religion of Saturday, 25 April 2020
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Ramadan, in Islam, is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting which begins and ends with the appearance of the new moon.
It is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam, in addition to abstaining from eating and drinking during this time.
Muslims also engage in rigorous congregational prayers, iftar (breaking of fast), tefsir, and abstain from sexual relations and sinful speech and behaviour.
Globally, today marks the beginning of the fasting period for 2020, however, the month has come at a time when the world is faced with the global pandemic COVID-19 and the usual euphoria for the commemoration of the holy month would not be experienced.
In Ghana, all social gatherings have been banned and everyone is expected to adhere to all the protocols put in place by the government including observing personal hygiene principles of hand washing, hand sanitization, social distancing. Covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing, eating healthily, staying at home as much as possible and wear your face-mask when going out, to stop the spread of the virus.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra on the issue, Nii Okai Aryee Sulemana, Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Ghana Muslim Mission said this year’s Ramadan would be a different experience. The Ramadan community spirit has been taken out completely by COVID19, and everyone would feel the pinch, he said.
“It would not be an easy one especially those who come to the mosque for iftar every day. “For some, when they close late from work and it’s about time to break the fast, they just walk to any mosque to break it, but that is not going to be the case this year.
“Everyone must carry his or her personal prayer mat when going out because of our unique way of praying which includes prostration so if its times for prayers you can fin place and pray on your mat. “
Others said the feeling for this year’s fasting was different because they would not be able to join the congregation for the usual prayers of “Taraweeh’ where people usually have not entered the mosque in ages appear from nowhere.
“We are going to miss the uniqueness and togetherness of this month, during this period a lot of Muslims would have been trooping into mosques for salat and iftar but because of the novel CODVID-19, all mosques are shut down.”
Some Muslims who spoke to the GNA indicated that every year they select their leave days at work, carefully making sure it falls on the last ten days of Ramadan, to devote that period to various acts of worship in the mosque, but strangely this year it’s not going to be like that.
While others thought it was going to be a different experience, others were however of the view that the feeling seems the same because this was not a condition to reschedule their minds toward Ramadan, but they just have to eat healthier and stay safer.
Adaptation is key in the lives of every rational human being. When the situation calls for it and it is for the good of it, one has no option than to comply.
“We just have to adjust and tune out minds to the realization that no condition is permanent and that time changes and this is where in Islam we don’t procrastinate because today is for us tomorrow may not be for us”, said Hajia Fati, a trader.
A man who spoke on condition of anonymity indicated that one thing was for sure, the blessed month had come and they had to reap all the benefits from it regardless of COVID-19 since they could not go out freely and associate with their loved ones.
“This is the time one has to be very focused., and a time to pray ceaselessly. We Muslims have to take the opportunity to ask for Allah’s mercies and forgiveness. It’s really good timing”, he added
Families were likely to spend more time together due to the restriction on public gatherings and this would boost family ties. Ramadan is a month of blessings and since all these blessings from Allah haven’t changed and charged Muslims to make the most out the blessed month.
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