Blog: Ramadan, Crohn’s and coronavirus

21 May 2020

What do a socially distant Ramadan and Eid look like this year?

It feels like all anyone has talked about for the last few months is coronavirus and rightly so. It has impacted everyone’s way of life with some being left with devastating results.

Omma tells us how it has impacted her - a Muslim with Crohn’s Disease.

For most Muslims, Ramadan is a really spiritual and social time. It is a time to reset, re-prioritise and reconnect with our faith. It is a time where we try to break bad habits, reduce overindulgence, and remember the less fortunate whilst practising gratitude. 

It is also a time where we have friends and family over to break our fasts together or go out to restaurants to eat and pray “Tarawee” (nightly prayers) at the masjid. We often get to see our local community members at the masjid, people we do not see on a daily basis. This time really helps me personally feel connected to my faith and embrace the true meaning of “brotherhood”.

But this year has been very different. I am lucky because I have a big family that I live with so this has helped massively. But for lots of other people, especially Muslim reverts, or people who live alone, it is not so simple.

 

Then if you add Crohn’s to the mix, it has made for a very different Ramadan.

Over the last 8 years, since my diagnosis, I have been unable to complete all my fasts during Ramadan because of the uncertainty and unpredictable nature of this disease. Most years I have not kept a single one and at most one year I managed half. But having had my proctectomy (or Barbie-butt!) surgery 3 years ago, and really focusing on getting stronger, I finally thought this was my year. Then coronavirus came along and said "not today ma’am"!

Being high-risk, my medical advice was to avoid fasting this year as it could weaken my immune response and potentially make me more susceptible to contracting the virus. 

In order to still get the benefits of this blessed month, I wrote about the different ways I was hoping to spend this month over on my blog.

So, what does this mean for Eid?

The Eid prayer is going to be prayed in the home instead of in congregation. Families will have to make do with phone calls and video messages instead of Eid hugs and family feasts. Social distancing is sure to dampen the celebration but maybe this is a chance to go above and beyond this year. On Twitter, I read about Black Muslims organising an online space or Zoom call where they can celebrate together. People are partaking in virtual “Secret-Eid” with friends online and feasts will be shared amongst neighbours through contactless deliveries and waves instead of hugs. I am also hoping, energy levels permitting, to bake a whole range of desserts to hand  out here safe. I will also just have to shower my parents and especially Dad with my extra tight hugs, much to his dismay! 

It is a strange time to be alive. We are living through a moment in history that will be talked about and even studied in schools in years to come. So, I hope everyone stays hopeful and positive and finds ways in making this year extra special, as I intend to do.


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