April 23 marks the beginning of Ramadan – the celebration of the ninth and holiest month in the Islamic calendar. This year, for the first time in known history, Ramadan celebrations around the world will be happening virtually instead of within the community, as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, focus on their connection to Allah, reflect on their lives, and come together for prayers before breaking their evening fast. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a significant time of reflection, charity, and connection.
While places of worship around the world have been temporarily closed, this pandemic has shown that the commitment to spiritual connection, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, cannot be easily shaken. We have seen sermons being live-streamed, religious lectures being aired on social media, and recitation and prayers taking place through videoconferencing. It’s a difficult time for all of us, but an inspiring one too.
This global pandemic has certainly altered Ramadan celebrations this year. At a time when Muslims would usually gather with their loved ones and their larger communities to celebrate this special occasion, they are being encouraged to fast at home and share in prayers virtually.
To all of our Muslim brothers and sisters who are sacrificing their most-loved traditions and rituals in order to join the global fight against COVID-19, thank you. We are celebrating with you from afar. We know that this isn’t an easy adjustment to make, and we are grateful to you for doing your part to curtail the spread of this virus.
May Ramadan be a reminder to all of us to reflect, to give back to our communities in any way we can, and to continue practicing physical distancing so we can return to celebrating our most cherished traditions together.
Ramadan Mubarak to all.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer