How to survive Ramadan on your own.
When we think of Ramadan, we think of families breaking our fasts with our families and friends, praying salah together, be it at the masjid or home. One of the blessings of Ramadan is the bonds we build with one another, growing spiritually collectively. If we reflect for a moment, whilst many of us take this for granted, many others amongst us do not share the same privilege. They usually spend Ramadan alone. This can be a very difficult experience and one that can leave us feeling isolated.
Some of our brothers and sisters are new Muslims, so despite being around family, they fast for the sake of Allah, whilst their families do not, and some of us have Muslim family members who do not fast, sometimes only one or two people from the family actively fasting. Some of us are sick, and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some of us are in a vulnerable position with our health therefore unable to be around anyone. Just imagine feeling anxious about the arrival of Ramadan because of how it can affect your mental and spiritual health from being alone.
It is important we develop our perspective here; this helps us reorient ourselves, and doing so can aid us in being content with our individual tests.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said that
“(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.” (Bukhari).
Below are some tips to help you if you are spending Ramadan alone for the several possible reasons I have listed
1. Visiting the masjid
One of the best ways to connect with others during the month of Ramadan is by visiting the masjid. This can be through attending the masjid for the five daily prayers or the taraweeh prayers. Just give salaam to the person next to you. Sometimes just being around others, and seeing everyone praying and begging Allah SWT reminds us that we are all struggling with something. It makes us appreciate our blessings and the mercy in our unique tests.
Charity is integral to Ramadan. It is in this month that Muslims are the most generous due to its numerous virtues. If you are not able to assist those in need financially, then offering your time for the sake of Allah is also considered charity. It can help boost your morale and taking part in the collective effort can help you too. Also, you are unable to leave your home, you can volunteer your time online.
3. Virtual iftar
If you are unable to leave your home, and you are in a part of the world that does not have the option to invite people in your home for iftar due to Covid restrictions
then organising a virtual iftar via zoom, WhatsApp video, or skype is a fun way to gather with friends and family and share short reminders from the Quran and the seerah to help you in your life.
4. Attending classes online
One of the most gratifying endeavours a Muslim can pursue is seeking knowledge. If you feel alone this Ramadan, perhaps take an online class or a short course, they usually have some Q&A sessions. Learning and interacting with believers can help make you feel connected to the ummah from all parts of the world, it also may help you foster friendships.
5. Sharing meals
Organising a potluck meal is a fun way to share the blessings of food with others. Make a dish and distribute it in a few portions so everyone gets the opportunity to try something different. Not only will it be a noble act to feed someone but also allow you to bond over food. You also have the option to make it Covid friendly and leave it at the door with a personalised note.
The Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person”. (Trimidhi).
6. Develop your Taffakur
Use the time alone to develop your relationship with Allah SWT. We have to remember everything, despite its pain, is good for us. Reflect on the abundance of signs around us, reflect on the creation, the blessings, the lessons within them. This type of reflection can feed your soul in the most powerful ways.
Abu Huraira reported:
The Prophet(PBUH) said, “Nothing afflicts a Muslim of hardship, nor illness, nor anxiety, nor sorrow, nor harm, nor distress, nor even the pricking of a thorn, but that Allah will expiate his sins by it.” (Bukhari).
Seek the lesson
“Had Allah lifted the veil for his slave and shown him how He handles his affairs for him, and how Allah is more keen for the benefit of the slave than his own self, his heart would have melted out of the love for Allah and would have been torn to pieces out of thankfulness to Allah.” (Ibn Qayyim Ra)
Being alone is hard. Being alone during the holy month of Ramadan is even harder. During times of great difficulty, we often find our openings. It is in the darkness of the Ocean that we the diver finds precious pearls. It is through the toil of the mining hard rock that we find the rarest diamonds. One of the ways to help yourself through every blessing and every test is to seek the lesson within it. It is always there. We just have to dig harder to find them. These are gifts to aid you in this world. They help give you a deeper sense of purpose, aid in clarity and allow a strengthening in your relationship with Allah SWT, and with yourself. Be kind to yourself this Ramadan and believe in the beautiful words of our Creator:
“Verily after every hardship there is relief, with every hardship there is relief” (94:5)
The Ease is always there, we just have to have the right vision to see it.
May Allah SWT grant us the blessings of this month and allow us to reap from its treasures ameen.