After the first week of self-quarantine, it became clear that the only thing to look forward to daily was snack breaks. 48 days in, nothing has changed. However, as if the luck of humanity has not already been tested and impaired during this pandemic, the universe decided to tally another responsibility for the approximate 2 billion Muslims worldwide- Ramadan. And not any Ramadan, but Ramadan in quarantine. As if it was not bad enough to be stuck at home with nothing but your fridge to comfort you, even your fridge is being taken away from you. Yay!
Ramadan is an Islamic holy month focused on spiritual cleansing and being honest with yourself about past mistakes to learn from them- yes, I’m talking about that really mean thing you said when you were hangry. It is about doing good deeds, being kind to others, and reflecting on yourself and your morals to better yourself. It is focused on making every day a good day, even when Co-Star tells you that you have power in nothing and trouble in everything. The month is spent fasting, only to be ended with Eid, a three day holiday celebrated with large family gatherings, new clothes and money for kids. It’s basically Muslim Christmas.
“Personally, Ramadan is a really reflective time for me because I have a lot of time to think about other people and it helps me be more considerate and be grateful for everything that I have in my life,” junior Sara Ebrahimi said.
As well as spiritual cleansing, a practice of physical cleansing is observed through fasting daily from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is the restriction of the consumption of food and liquids. The point of this is to personally practice self-discipline, self-control and sacrifice. Before you ask, no, not even water and yes, we will make it out alive. How? Most Muslims wake up right before sunrise, usually at around 5:30 a.m., to have a meal and prepare for the day. This is called Suhoor, which for me is spent tiredly staring at my sister while we sit in silence because she’s too exhausted to speak and because I love to pick fights when I’m tired. When it is time for Fajr, or the morning prayer, fasting begins.
Is it exhausting? Absolutely. Need some coffee to help? Too bad, it’s Ramadan.
Quarantine means you are stuck in a place with your loving family who just loves to argue with you. Ramadan in quarantine means there’s no food to stuff your face with to keep you from giving everyone a piece of your mind. Do you see the problem? Since it’s Ramadan, you can not get mad at anyone because you should be spreading peace and happiness. How should you deal with your anger, you ask? I recommend screaming into pillows. However, Ramadan in quarantine has helped a lot with stress-eating and boredom-eating. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve picked up a pack of crackers purely because I’ve had nothing else to do, only to return them because I can’t eat them. Also, not being able to drink anything throughout the day has given me a perfect excuse to skip workouts because the lack of nutrients might cause dizziness.
On a more serious note, the most unusual thing about this holiday being spent in self-isolation is the lack of community that Ramadan is always accompanied by. Typically, we invite friends and family over for Iftar, the time of day when you break fasting. Sharing your one of two meals with them makes fasting worth it, as you realize how lucky you are to have food on your table. One of the main points of fasting is to feel how those less fortunate live, with limited meals daily. Understanding that some people face this reality every day and not just for a month creates this sense of community and acts of generosity to try and help the issue. For example, in my family, we donate money to orphanages in Kano, Nigeria to help feed the children living in poverty. This month is spent giving to those who struggle much more than we are, in hopes of giving them a silver lining.
“I am having Iftar, and it’s 8 p.m., so people in Brickell are shouting in celebration of our essential workers. Although the sense of community that comes with Ramadan is not the same this year, it is beautiful to break my fast to something like this,” junior Aya Hamza said.
Although the purpose of Ramadan is heartwarming and remarkable, the reality of Ramadan in quarantine is dreadful. So, to my fellow Muslims, I suggest investing in an amazing pair of noise-canceling headphones and keeping your head held high because believe it or not, it’s only been a week.