Ramadan in 2020: distanced but vibrant

By Penny King | May 28, 2020
Penny King

I was asked to reflect on how Ramadan 2020 will differ from previous Ramadans due to COVID-19. Ramadan is a month of fasting, praying night prayers in congregation, reading the Quran, performing good deeds and abstaining from anything (not just liquid and food) that might take us away from worshipping Allah better. Fasting is meant to teach us patience and empathy, to feel what those who are less fortunate around the world feel. Those who have nothing, are starving and have no clean water. We are truly fortunate and blessed alhamdulilah.

In years past, our community came together every Saturday during Ramadan to break our fast as a community. We had daily iftars at the mesjid for the students and singles who didn’t have anyone to break their fast with. This year, there will be no congregational prayer or potlucks and the students/singles will break their fasts alone. Food will be provided for them to take home.

These are trying times for all of us. There is nothing more beautiful than the congregational night prayer (Taraweeh) inside the mesjid. This year families will do this at home. Our religion encourages congregational prayers and gathering for meals, but at the same time offers flexibility so everything can be done individually and we will not miss out on any of our duties. It does instruct us to rely on god and accept that he is in control of everything but at the same time we should take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and others.

Eid-Fitr is the celebration after fasting the month of Ramadan. Traditionally we have a morning prayer and sermon, followed by brunch and fun activities for the children. This year we are doing something a little different, to adhere to the CDC guidelines of social distancing, while still making it special for the children. We will have a mini parade. Each family will be decorating their vehicles, making Eid signs, and getting dressed up to meet in a parking lot to give our Eid greetings from our vehicles and take family photos. The children will receive goodie bags, through car windows. All while social distancing.

As a revert to Islam, the only Muslim in my family and single, having a community that is welcoming, caring, and inclusive is a blessing. The past Ramadans I rarely broke my fast alone. I was blessed to break my fast either at a friend’s home or at the daily iftars. This year is the first time I’ve been alone for Ramadan.

The Muslim community in Orono is a vibrant one and its Masjid hosts several activities throughout the week and all year round.

We present to the community at large through outreach to educational facilities, such as schools, universities, hospitals and religious institutions. Members of the ICM community regularly work with the Muslim Student Association at UMaine to provide awareness of Islam and Muslims on campus.

Penny King, born and raised in Maine, has been a member of the Muslim community for the past 14 years.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | May 28, 2020 13:18

Many of us find our inner strength from our faith community. The wide diversity of Village Soup articles has been encouraging in this trying time for us all. We have seen we have much more in common than we may have known.  You are welcome to check out Faith Connections on Facebook where there is  positive interaction as well as opportunity to learn from one another.      https://www.facebook.com/groups/574207833432948/

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