The silver lining of a Ramadan under lockdown
The streets are now empty, the markets, malls, shops have all closed. The reciters of God’s word stand lonely in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. No humans encircle the Kaaba. No Muslim stands shoulder to shoulder at the local mosque.
Ramadan this year is like no other, and will be remembered as a monumental time in our lives where everything changed, even if, in the grand scheme of things, only for a moment.
No more grand iftars, no more late nights at the mosque, no more staying up till suhoor with your friends, which would usually peak with a spiritual communal prayer at fajr. No more visits from relatives, or long nights watching soaps and shows together.
It’s all different. So very different.
Nobody really knows why this is all happening but as believers of God we have been assured that all things come with divine wisdom. We may not understand it, but it serves a purpose. All we can do in this moment, is delve deep into this experience and soak it all up. We are not used to being alone, we are not used to doing nothing, we are not used to silence. This is exactly why we need to allow ourselves to be and do all those things. Silence and solitude is a scary thought for many of us because it drowns out all the noise and hones in on the voice of our self. That’s the person that you’ve been trying to dismiss inside you, the voice you’ve tried to ignore and the reflection you’ve tried to avoid.
The truth is, you need to know that voice and it needs to become your best friend. It is the voice that reveals who you are as a person and guides you to your path. It is the voice that tells you, ‘you know you should not be doing this’ and says ‘you know you’re better than this’, and ‘why don’t you try this instead’.
Solitude triggers reflection and reflection is the entire purpose of Ramadan. Maybe we have just been doing it wrong all these years and God wants to show us how to do Ramadan as he intended.
It was never about the feasts, or the events, or the drama on television. It was never about the large gatherings or the fancy spread or who made the best food. It was never about who spent longest at the mosque, or who had the stamina to complete all 20 prostrations. It was never about who saw you do what, or who received the loudest applause at the fundraiser.
Yes, it’s hard and you miss those you love. You’ve been home for weeks, some for months. Many of our heroes wish they could stay home, safe, protected, shielded from death. And through all this, some of you may even be grieving in these dark but holy nights.
Ramadan of 2020 may be the most different, but the truth is, it might just be the only time in our lives where we experience the holy month in the way it was intended.
In solitude. In silence. Just you, and your voice and your reflection, and God.