Ben HaywardApril 22nd
2020

Having been informed that the UK must remain in lockdown for at least another few weeks, it’s now clear that this year’s Ramadan is going to be very different to those that have gone before.

For the millions of Muslims around the world, although the strict social distancing rules will affect many aspects of Ramadan this year, the essence of the holy month - devoting yourself to your faith and coming closer to Allah - will remain very much unchanged. 

Although this is a time that is traditionally spent visiting the mosque with fellow worshippers, spending time with extended family and gathering together for meals - all things that are unlikely to happen in the current climate - the lockdown actually presents a number of opportunities.

So, in the spirit of making the best of things, Islamic lecturer Ismail Bullock has offered his five top tips for celebrating Ramadan in isolation.

1.Make the most of your time at home. “Ramadan is literally the month of the Quran,” says Bullock. Even if you are working from home, you will generally have a bit more time on your hands, so why not take the opportunity to focus on reading the Quran, spiritual reflection and prayer?

2. Even if you are unable to visit the mosque, don’t miss out on the voluntary taraweeh prayer. Maintain the spiritual aspect of Ramadan by holding prayers at home with family members from your own household.

3. Connect with family. The holy month is an opportunity to reconnect with relatives and even if you can’t see them face to face, you can still use technology to strengthen those bonds.

You could always use your daily exercise to pass by a family member or friend's house for a socially distant chat through the window or from the end of the garden - you never know what a big difference a little bit of interaction could make.

4. Normally during Ramadan people make a special effort to connect with their communities and reach out to people who need help. This is all still possible even during lockdown. Join a support group for vulnerable people who are isolated due to coronavirus for video or phone chats or volunteer for the NHS if you have the time.

There are also loads of charities who would really appreciate a donation, however small at the moment - and not just the ones tackling coronavirus!

Food banks, housing charities, domestic violence refuges and many thousands of other organisations are doing their best to continue supporting people throughout the pandemic, and a little can go a very long way!

5. And finally, don't put too much pressure on yourself. "Don’t panic about fasting," says Bullock. While he acknowledges that people may be feeling more nervous about fasting this year, worrying it may make them more susceptible to the virus, they shouldn't be concerned. “We know, generally speaking, when you fast it can boost your immune system,” he says.

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