COVID-19 has swept the world in a global pandemic of extraordinary proportions. The debate about its future health costs continues to rage. Yet its economic implications can never go unnoticed. It has indeed affected almost every household all over the world in a way or another. To the Muslim world, Ramadan will be different this year. No mosques, iftar gatherings, congregation prayers, and even many families have suffered from their income loss. As families, how can we survive Ramadan amid Coronavirus and job loss?
1. Survive this Ramadan Financially
Approaching Ramadan during Coronavirus COVID-19, besides experiencing income loss and balancing all other responsibilities, is hard work and requires lots of planning to survive Ramadan this year.
1st. Apply for any support you’re eligible for
Depending on where you live, financial assistance can come from several sources such as the government, unions, food banks or Islamic aid organizations.
2nd. Build an emergency budget
While it’s too late to save for this emergency, it’s time to create an emergency budget based on your reduced level of income. Start by outlining your most essential expenses, which include your housing, medical costs, and reasonable amounts for food and transportation.
Keep in mind that due to self-isolation, review your unnecessary expenses those you are doing before the COVID-19 situation. You can hold any unnecessary monthly subscriptions, and even call every service provider you pay to reduce or waive part of their fees.
Save on groceries by cleaning out your fridge, freezer and pantry before doing another round of grocery shopping. And avoid by all means wasting food in Ramadan at Iftar and Suhoor.
3rd. Use your skills
Try to use your skills and apply for an online matching job or offer tutoring services. They are highly in demand, given the school closure. Until you get the opportunity, keep learning and upgrading your qualifications.
2. Mentally survive this Ramadan
Protect your mental and physical wellbeing. Focus on what you can control and what you can change instead of draining your energy on what’s beyond your control.
Be wary of information fatigue. What you digest from news and social media affects you directly and indirectly. Be mindful of what you expose yourself to and choose what lifts you positively during these times, especially during Ramadan, when you need your energy the most for fasting and worshipping.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ (6)الحجرات 6
O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful. Al HujuratAL Hujurat 49:6
Social distancing doesn’t mean self-isolation. Plan some daily time to connect with family members using the various means of technology available. Involve your children in these calls as well and educate them about Silat al Raheem (family ties).
Get moving by having a simple workout routine at home or a short walk in the neighbourhood.
During our most vulnerable times, we need God’s help the most. The best way to receive His support is by helping others.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
Whoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Resurrection. And whoever alleviates the need of a needy person, Allah will alleviate his needs in this world and the Hereafter. Whoever shields [or hides the misdeeds of] a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah will aid His slave so long as he aids his brother.Muslim
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه و سلم قَالَ: “مَنْ نَفَّسَ عَنْ مُؤْمِنٍ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ الدُّنْيَا نَفَّسَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَمَنْ يَسَّرَ عَلَى مُعْسِرٍ، يَسَّرَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ، وَمَنْ سَتَرَ مُسْلِما سَتَرَهُ اللهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ، وَاَللَّهُ فِي عَوْنِ الْعَبْدِ مَا كَانَ الْعَبْدُ فِي عَوْنِ أَخِيهرواه مسلم
There are various ways you can serve your community during and after Ramadan:
- Give out sadaqah. Even if your finances are tight nowadays. The Prophet Muhammad encouraged us to give charity even if as little as half a date. Allah will reward you and give you back in means you have not expected.
- Reach out for the elderly in your family and neighbours and check if they need support. You can help with errands, groceries pick up or simply show up in their lives by being there for them.
- Volunteer with your time. Contact the aid organizations in your area and check how you can help given the social distancing measures.
4. Survive Ramadan Spiritually
This Ramadan is different. While we will not be able to perform congregation prayers, Ramadan is not cancelled after all. We will worship God the way He wants not the way we want and this would be the utmost form of submission.
Now that we have more time at home, this Ramadan can be a spiritual transformation in our journey. Let’s not miss out on the tremendous blessings this month has to offer by optimizing our good deeds and exerting ourselves to strengthen our relationship with our Creator.
Make use of this Time
Let’s spend the time, renewing our relationships with our household and challenging each other to strive in the path of Allah.
- When you’re expecting guests, you preplan ahead for their stay to make the most out of their visit. Let’s make the most out of our Ramadan that only shows up for 29/30 days every year.
- Set your goals for yourself and your family in terms of the Quran, prayers and charity. Gather them, plan together and motivate them.
- Plan your day and allocate time blocks for each kind of worship. If you don’t plan, the day will just pass unproductively.
- Choose 1 or 2 negative habits to get rid of and replace them by 1 or 2 new ones. Ramadan, the month is a significant period to practice.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.”Bukhari & Muslim
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: من صام رمضان إيمانًا واحتسابًا، غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه ”
We will pass this test together as a community to survive and prove to Him that we are worthy of His mercy and blessings.
We will fulfil our obligations of fasting, prayers, charity, recitation and reflection of the Quran with a degree of excellence and nothing less than that.
Towards a blessed Ramadan of nothing but excellence.