Hearts are heavy this Ramadan. Eyes are overflowing with tears. Minds are still in a state of denial.
For some, there are too many emotions to make sense of this unprecedented Ramadan. Rejection. Deprivation. Anger. Anxiety. Humility. Introspection.
How can we have Ramadan without our Masjid? These reactions are natural.
However, Allah, the most Wise and the Master of all affairs, knows exactly why we must experience this Ramadan without a physical connection with His beloved house: the Masjid - the sacred space where millions come every night of Ramadan to find tranquility, serenity, and felicity.
Believers always look for positives in every circumstance and step up to the challenge with optimism. While the doors of the Masjid are closed, the doors of Ramadan’s blessings are open 24/7, and the doors of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness are still open.
Here are 10 ways you can stay connected with Allah’s House remotely this Ramadan.
1- Establish a Prayer/Salah/Namaz corner in your house
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The entire earth has been made a place of prayer, except for graveyards and washrooms.” (Tirmidhi 317).
While you can’t attend a Masjid due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it is critical to dedicate a space in your home to hold daily prayers. Put out prayer mats in a corner permanently so everyone associates it with this sacred ritual.
2. Call Adhan for daily prayers
If you have a family in your home, ideally set times for the five daily prayers so it’s on everyone’s schedule. Assign someone in the family to call Adhan at these set times. Rotate the Adhan-calling role every day. Pretend that you are calling Adhan in the Masjid.
3. Organize Taraweeh with the family
One of the biggest challenges, as well as opportunities, that Ramadan under lockdown presents is Taraweeh, the nightly voluntary prayers that are traditionally offered in congregation with long melodic recitations of the Quran. This Ramadan, it will be your turn to lead. Yes, it won’t be the same. Yes, it may be difficult for many to read long chapters of the Quran from memory. Yes, it may not sound as beautiful or powerful. Yes, you will miss the social and spiritual environment of the collective Taraweeh. But this is an opportunity for every young or old male in the family to memorize, recite, lead, and earn tons of rewards every night. Similarly, women can lead other women in the family.
You don’t have to be an Imam or a scholar to organize Taraweeh in the family. Remember, Taraweh is not an obligation, so even if you are unable to organize Taraweeh every night, simply offer some voluntary prayers, followed by Witr prayers.
4. Dress up for the prayers as would when going to the Masjid
Just because your Masjid buddies and attendees are no longer seeing you every day, that doesn’t mean Allah and His angels are not. For every prayer, as you make the effort to perform Wudu, the ritual washing, make sure your hair, body, and clothes are also presentable. Renewing Wudu, dressing up, putting on a nice perfume, and using Miswak or a tooth stick, before a prayer, especially before your daily Taraweeh, will not only mentally prepare you to stand in the majestic presence of Allah, but also spiritually connect you with your Masjid every day in Ramadan.
5. Don’t forget to donate to your local Masjid virtually this Ramadan
Just because you are no longer able to drop cash in the red donation box every night of Ramadan or every Juma due to the pandemic lockdown doesn’t mean you forget about your local Masjid. While we encourage Muslims to diversify where they give Sadaqa and Zakat so a wide variety of critical causes and community projects are supported, make your Masjid also a priority in your donation. Most Masjids are taking a heavy financial hit due to missed fundraising opportunities this Ramadan. One way to stay connected with the Masjid is to consistently donate online. Get your family involved in the online donation exercise.
6. Connect with your local Masjid’s programming virtually
Whether it’s the beautiful Tilawah (recitation of the Quran) of your local Imam, or an inspirational lecture series offered online by a local Masjid, make it a part of your daily Ramadan schedule. Countless Masjids across North America will be offering alternate virtual programming during Taraweeh times, or before Iftar time, or earlier in the day. It may include recitation of the Quran by a Hafiz or Qari, as it would be recited in Taraweeh, along with a brief lecture summarizing the message of verses recited. This is a great opportunity to stay connected with your Masjid, its programming, its messages, its Imam, and its management.
7. Join Your Masjid’s Virtual Community
While you will dearly miss the physical engagement with your Taraweeh buddies and community Iftars, you can connect with many of them through your Masjid’s social media platforms or WhatsApp groups. If your community doesn’t have such online spaces, take the initiative and establish a Facebook group, or a WhatsApp group, or any other virtual means of staying connected. You can also organize weekly online meetups for socialization over Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, or Skype so you can see everyone ‘face-to-face’.
8. Keep Your Imam, Masjid administration, and volunteers in your prayers & presents
This Ramadan, why not go the extra mile to express concern and gratitude for your local Imams, Masjid leaders, and volunteers? Sadly, the sudden lockdown of the Masjid is not only hurting Masjids and Imams financially, but more so emotionally. Many Imams have been in tears at the thought of not being able to recite Allah’s Book in congregation this Ramadan. Many volunteers are heartbroken knowing they will be missing out on the opportunity to serve the community this Ramadan. Moreover, the drastic switch over to virtual platforms of delivering lectures and reminders has also added to their anxiety and stress. Why not drop them a message or call them appreciating their efforts in these challenging times? Why not make special Dua for them every night? Why not send them a special, personal gift to lift their spirits? What can be a more beautiful way to connect with your Masjid and its servants?
9. Watch Images and listen to sounds from beautiful Masjids around the world
In case you are feeling depressed about not visiting a Masjid this Ramadan, you can soak in spectacular photos of Masjids around the world. You can watch videos of Imams reciting Quran in Taraweeh, whether live or recorded, from a different Masjid in your city, country, or anywhere around the world, every night. Why not learn the names of 30 new Masjids and/or Qaris this Ramadan?
10. Do a research project on a historic Masjid every week
One of your Ramadan activities with the family could be to research a Masjid in your city, country, or anywhere globally that has a significant story, a famous personality associated with it, unique architecture, or historic significance. There is hardly a Masjid in North America behind which there weren’t visionary leaders and selfless founders. Why not learn more about these people and their sacrifices in building communities?
This could be a weekly project presented by a family member. You can start with the first Masjid(s) in America, Canada, the UK, or your country. Or you can go for the famous historic Masjids of Istanbul. Or learn more about the three greatest Masjids of Islam: Masjid Al-Haram, Masjid An-Nabawi, and Masjid Al-Aqsa.