By Michaela Tangan
Features Writer, The Philippine STAR
Muslims are now in the midst of month-long fasting, prayer and reflection.
Ramadan, one of the holiest periods in the Islamic calendar, is a social and spiritual time of the year — a holy month of fasting that reminds Muslims of the sufferings of the less fortunate and brings them closer to God through prayer and reflection.
Traditionally, Muslims would come together to prayer in mosques and hold Iftar gatherings with families and friends afterwards. However, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now transforming how the holy month is celebrated.
To save lives, large social gatherings are restricted and prayer halls are closed. Imams are calling their brothers and sisters to stay home and keep the faith and tradition alive in their homes.
Joining the Muslim community in prayer and celebration, Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) listed down the following tips to safely maintain the sanctity of Ramadan:
Attend prayer gatherings online
Along with dawn-to-dusk fasting, Muslims would say the Taraweeh prayer along with the community inside the mosque to seek forgiveness and bring themselves closer to Allah.
Since mosques are closed, Imams are encouraging their brothers and sisters to say their prayers with immediate family members within the comforts of their homes. To deepen their faith, they may also join the rest of the community via live-streamed or broadcasted prayer gatherings or seminars.
Send Zakat al-Fitr through online transactions
One crucial aspect of Zakat al-Fitr is showing charity to others, usually in the form of food donation drives. Here, the faithful gather to prepare and distribute meals to those in need.
As we face a global health crisis, Muslims may donate their Zakat al-Fitr to their chosen causes via online transactions. Families may also opt to prepare packed foods in their respective kitchens. Instead of going out in groups, a designated member of the family may deliver the food to a trusted institution for safe and centralized distribution.
Use prayers and meditations to fortify mental and psychosocial health
Ramadan is a special opportunity to lift up to Allah any fears and worries.
Since we are going through a storm, lean on to prayer and meditation to ease the burdens within us. This will also help us cope with the symptoms of anxiety, depression or other mental health problems.
The community may also offer their prayers to comfort the distressed, guide the frontline workers, and heal the sick.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly changed the way we worship, people’s faith will remain intact. This will serve the community’s guiding light toward a safe, faithful and meaningful celebration of the Ramadan.