Ramadan is traditionally considered a special time of the year, but current events in 2020 will shape the Islamic holy month in unprecedented ways. The global COVID-19 outbreak means that many usual events have been cancelled and traditions may be marked differently in line with health recommendations.
Saudi Arabia, which is home to two of Islam’s holiest sites, has suspended group prayers at mosques until the end of the pandemic. These services include the daily obligatory prayers as well as the special Taraweeh rites held in Ramadan. In the UAE, the Hag Al Leila community celebration ahead of the holy month was moved into people’s homes. While the situation changes on a daily basis, it is clear that events such as iftar gatherings with friends and extended family are unlikely to take place in the same manner as previous years.
Yet, the situation offers an opportunity to refocus on the core aspects of Ramadan. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar is a season for reflection and devotion. The world’s 1.8 billion Muslims practice self-control by fasting from dawn to dusk, while giving back to society through charity and generous actions. These aspects are likely to take priority this Ramadan as people have more time at their disposal. Here are some ways to mark Ramadan in the Islamic year 1441.