Ramadan During the Pandemic: Youth Perspective

Today is first full day of Ramadan which marks the beginning of a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection that is observed by Muslims worldwide. Community and connection is also an important part of the traditions of Ramadan, but with the coronavirus keeping people apart, we wanted to know how this would affect MAP Youth who are Muslim. This week we asked them, "What are your thoughts on Ramadan this year?" and "How is Ramadan different for you and your family because of the pandemic?". 
Here are their thoughts:

I’m glad that I don’t have to go to school and work during Ramadan this  year because I’m not someone that is used to Ramadan and fasting is  hard for me. I plan on sleeping a lot, so that will be easy for me.

As you probably know, we fast from sunrise and sunset and usually we go to the mosque during the sunset to break our fast with everyone. That's not happening now. We are breaking our fast at home. What will be different is that the fasting will be much easier for Muslims in general as they don't have to go out for work/school, But one of the main aspects of Ramadan is the socializing aspects. We love to go have iftar (eating at sunset) at others' house. 
For me, I plan on reading the Qur'an during Ramadan this year to understand more about my religion. I’ve been praying together more with my family which has been good and peaceful for me. When this is over, we will go back to praying more alone.

I don’t really eat a lot so I’m used to it. One thing that will be different will be the type of food that I eat. If I fast, I don’t like eating food that has oil in it, like fried food, but now I will be eating food with more oil. I like to eat avocados when I’m fasting, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do that as much this time.

Well, for this year I feel like things are going to be more different because, one, I'm not worrying about being at school all day long. I'll be at home with family and reconnect more with myself because it feels like when I'm at school all day long I feel so drained so when it's time to break my fast I barely eat anything. I get to reconnect with myself, do a little bit of exercises, and spend more time in the kitchen with my mom. It's very different with the whole pandemic going on because I actually get to see my family not just Saturdays and Sundays. Before my mom would work in the afternoon so she wouldn't be there as much, just my dad, and it just didn't feel right, but now it feels like this year it's going to be great. I don't know why, it just does.

Well, many of Ramadan's rituals and traditions will be restricted this year. Many mosques have been temporarily closed so we can't perform Tarawih prayers or just any of the five daily prayers together. We also can't go to mosques to hear Qur'an recitations and stories of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) instead we have to attend religious lectures via Zoom, Facebook, or YouTube. All in all for me, my spirits have been darkened due to just not being able to come together and I'm just going to miss that connectivity. Also, Eid, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, this year will also be in a restricted manner due to social distancing which itself is quite sad.

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