Ramadan is one of the most important months in the Islamic calendar where millions of Muslims fast to observe a period of reflection. With subject to the sighting of the moon, Ramadan is expected to start on April 24th and last till May 24th according to astronomer’s calculations. Fasting prohibits oneself from eating between sunrise and sunset. The act of breaking the fast at sunset is known as Iftar, whereas the pre-dawn meal that precedes the fast is known as Suhoor or Sehri. Muslims also refrain themselves from drinking, smoking etc. and actively get involved in charity.
This year the fasting month will coincide with the coronavirus pandemic, which has interrupted routine lives for the majority of the world. New norms have been implemented such as maintaining social distance, to work remotely and stop visiting your closed ones etc. Till date, shopping malls are shut down and the places you have access to are pharmacies, hospitals and supermarkets. The authorities have urged UAE citizens to stay home to prevent the spread of life-threatening disease COVID-19. This led to a change in our daily lives and will impact celebrations of Ramadan 2020 too. But the essence of this holy month remains the same.
Mosques Will Remain Closed
This year due to the rising pandemic situation, mosques will remain closed for the holy month. This is one of the biggest changes to Ramadan. Though many choose to pray at home, Islam encourages Muslims to perform their daily prayers at Mosques. It is not yet clear if some mosques in the UAE might actually provide an online prayer service to help the worshippers, stay connected.
Due to COVID-19, the traditional custom of Emirati kids observing Hag Al Laila was spent inside as per the instructions of the Ministry of Health and Prevention. The Ministry urged to avoid family social affairs, visits to neighbours, and walking on the streets. Hag Al Laila means ‘for this night’ is an annual occasion in the middle of Sha’aban, referred to as the eighth month in the Islamic Hijri calendar. As per this tradition, children go from door-to-door to collect sweets from their neighbours.
Stocking up Essentials
In the approach of Ramadan, you need to ensure your kitchen is loaded up with all the essential ingredients to prepare custom dinners, and also to decorate the house with themed designs. The UAE’s national cleansing project implies movement is restricted from 8 pm to 6 am, giving a few hours for the residents to go out and shop. One member of the family must visit the supermarket at a given time. So, make a complete list of the groceries that are essential and buy them in large quantities. Staples such as yoghurt, meat, rice, vimto and fruit juices are popular for Iftar accompaniments.
Iftar Social Events and Suhoors
During Ramadan, Iftar is the feast that is broken with juice, milk, dates or water and pray maghrib before having their meal. While Suhoor is the meal taken before dawn. Usually, eateries lure their customers with delicious and sumptuous meals. This year F&B business might not progress due to the preventive measures undertaken. Cafes and restaurants will not allow people to dine in until further notification.
Umrah generally means ‘to visit a populated place’. It is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, located in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. In the wake of the coronavirus, Emirates and Etihad Airways officially said it might not transport Saudi Arabia travellers with Umrah journey visas until further notification. In compliance with the Saudi government, order to prevent the outbreak of the virus, security personnel’s imposed restrictions in Mecca and Medina.
Taraweeh refers to additional ritual prayers performed by Muslims at night after the Isha prayer during the holy month. These prayers involve reading chapters in the Quran consistently which should be completed by the last day of Ramadan. The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs said that the Taraweeh prayers might be suspended in Saudi Arabia mosques. People might be advised to perform prayers at home.
Custom Fitted Abayas
Before Ramadan begins, residents of UAE usually visit their preferred fitting shops. It is the time women look for special designs of abayas and kandoras. This is a tradition carried out by Muslims to represent the Eid Al-Fitr celebration which marks the end of Ramadan. Eid Al-Fitr is known as the ‘festival of breaking fast’. With the latest restrictions imposed fitting shops inside malls were shut down, and other shops located in shopping centres too were closed temporarily.
Stay at home, carry out prayers for Allah and celebrate this Ramadan at home. Practice social distancing to avoid the infection, pile up all the necessary essential goods for the festive season. Lift up your mood and celebrate every event of the holy month with utmost priority and attention. Keep visiting Rezeem for more such interesting articles.