My Reflection on an Isolated Ramadan

As a believer, I see this is all happening according to Allah’s plan. Allah said in the Quran: “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits but give good tidings to the patient” (Baqarra, 2:155).

As a believer, I see this is all happening according to Allah’s plan. Allah said in the Quran: “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits but give good tidings to the patient” (Baqarra, 2:155).

It has been more than a  month that I haven’t go out, and being strict with myself and not even going to the park for a walk. This is because I live with my parents, both of whom are in their 60s and with underlining health issues. I am, however, blessed to have a job that allows me to work from home and still get a full salary, Alhamdulillah’s (praise be to God).

Working from home can be difficult for some people, and there are two things that happen when working from home: you are more likely to overwork or underwork, which both lead to mental illness. It is also hard to balance work life and family life when working from home. There’s a danger of constantly thinking about work and you find yourself working 24/7. I am certainly one of them.

Soon, I realised that I needed to keep myself engaged with activities. I have been doing Islamic meditation and engaged in Dhikr (a form of devotion) in the morning, afternoon, and night and regularly doing exercise to keep myself fit. These have been giving me a spiritual, physical, and social uplifting. I started to relax and reflect more. I am celebrating Ramadan in full isolation, but it is a special one. Isolation allowed me to reflect on the following areas. 

1. We come to know ourselves

Isolation is not a new thing for me. Islam was born in isolation, and our beloved Prophet Mohammed ﷺ received his prophethood while he was in solitude. It is believed that Mohammed ﷺ would go to the cave of Hira and stay for a day or two then come back. Mostly, he ﷺ was thinking and meditating on the Greatness of God, and seeking to escape the social ills that dominated Meccan society at the time, including abuse and neglect of women, idolatry, an unfair balance of wealth, and abuse of those living in poverty. He ﷺ did not know what to do about it, so he would go to Hira and think about it in the solitude there. That is where he also received the first revelation of the Quran as well and received Prophethood.

Since this year’s Ramadan has fallen in a time of isolation, it is giving me an extra boost to my spiritual faith. In this month the Quran was revealed, and I see there is a greater connection between Ramadan and the Quran than Ramadan and fasting.

From the life of Mohammed ﷺ, I  learn that when we are unsure about our situations and answers, we should observe solitude to get to know ourselves. It allows one to really dig down to the real issue, therefore, and find solutions. Also, when we are middle of problems, it sometimes becomes hard to see the solution, as we are in the centre of a problem – this reduces our ability to think about the possible solutions.

In order to think we must give ourselves some space physically and mentally. I am reflecting on my every activity at work and I am now much more conscious about my role in my work/public life. Sometimes we do things because it is part of our everyday cycle without being conscious of our actions so much. And this prevents us from growing and being better every day. 

2. A sign of Allah’s blessing 

It is difficult to count the mercy of Allah in this difficult time. When something like this happens, it is natural to feel a sense of fear and anxiety. People may ask “where’s God?” or “Why is He not helping us?”

As a believer, I see this is all happening according to Allah’s plan. Allah said in the Quran: “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits but give good tidings to the patient” (Baqarra, 2:155).

Advertise on TMV

Being patient in a difficult time requires a strong Imaan (Faith). It is also about seeking good in such calamity, and believing everything that happens in this world has some deep divine wisdom and reason behind it. It is miraculous that a virus that is impossible to see without a microscope is shaking the world, caging humans, and changing the global living style for every creature. Despite the invention of modern technology and advanced scientific research, humans are failing to control the virus. Already millions of lives have been affected and hundreds and thousands of lives have been lost.

But we also see how this has reunited the world – the pollution level is at the best and finally, we got to know our next-door neighbours. Churches, mosques and every faith institutions are closed but worshipers are extending prayers, making services more available, and prolonging Sujood (prostration). 

As a believer, this incident teaches me that ultimate might, power, glory, and magnificence belongs to Allah. While a sense of fear is coming from the news as the death toll rises, the believers are remaining calm and receiving a sense of hope from prayers. Muslims in the UK often take time off during Ramadan to be able to feel the sweetness of Ramadan, offering full Taraweeh prayer in the mosque. Without the need to worry about waking up at 7am the next day, I am truly feeling the blessing of Ramadan in isolation, despite the fact that mosques are closed. 

3. Empathy for the suffering of others 

This time especially is also teaching me to be thankful for what I previously took for granted: freedom of movement, access to basic needs, and meeting families. I never knew that I will witness a time in my life when I would face restrictions about where I can go or cannot go, how much food can I buy, and the fact that I cannot hug my parents and other family members even though they are near.

Only last month I was in Palestine, and I remember my taxi driver was stopped by the police, while he was driving us from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. He cannot go anywhere he wants in Palestine, despite being Palestinian. There’s a restriction on who can go where. Some drivers were happy that they got the license to drive everywhere.

I never understood why one would be so happy about that, but then a week later Europe went on lockdown and I came to know what it means to be able to drive and move everywhere. I always heard on the news about Kashmir on lockdown, parents in Syria losing their children as they tried to escape the region, and how half of the people in Yemen go to bed with an empty stomach. I thought all of this happens in less developed nations – I thought that especially in Britain, we would never face it. We are safe.

This is making me think how dependable we are as a globe. But we ignore this relationship, and we only help each other when others’ activities affect us. Like how the coronavirus is now affecting us. As a believer, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by seeing the suffering around the world, sometimes feel helpless and vulnerable. But this time I feel different, I have never made so many duas (supplications) for anyone as much I am making now. I feel soft-hearted and feel more hopeful. I truly believe in Allah’s promise ‘”Verily, after hardship comes ease” (Surah al-Inshirah). How I strongly believe that the current endemic will come to an end, and the freedom of those nations and believers will come again. 

Ramadan in isolation has been so amazing, Alhamdulliah. I am making use the most of it. I do not see at any time in the future I will be able to spend the full month of Ramadan with my family while doing a full-time job and creating a strong relationship with the Quran.