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How Do I Spend Ramadan Alone?

Saturday, 2 May 2020

In the name of God, Compassionate, Merciful بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

This year, a lot of us will spend Ramadan and Eid alone. Allah is testing every nation with the Covid pandemic and we need to now accept that being isolated or stuck at home is actually not the worst thing in the world.

But the idea that as Muslims, when normally we celebrate and prepare for Ramadan with loved ones, each fasting day will pass without the added interactions of a social gathering - is a bit sad. We're not allowed to see family, no street-Iftars this year, mental problems and social abuse are increasing, our mosques are closed. I mean, it's really tragic.


Allah ta`la tests those He loves therefore even if it is a bit pants, there are loads of ways you can make it less isolating, remember Allah and build that Ramadan spirit back up. There is mercy in everything and I feel like we should be contemplating where the hidden Rahma is in this pandemic.

I have about 9-10 ideas from experience that I hope will help you sustain the Ramadan mentality insha-Allah.

1. Plan how to spend Ramadan alone.


A flexible Ramadan scheduler
  • Being isolated requires some form of organising. There's no shame in doing the bare minimum. Make a basic checklist of necessities, things you want and things you need. Focus on what you need. Example: Cleaning house, reading schedule, iftar meal plan, kids' Ramadan activities.
  • Do you need to pray alone, do you want Ramadan books, can you live or without a weekly chart? Like a grocery shopping list, ask if you can do without the 1.5 litre luxury vanilla ice-cream when a packet of 23p bourbons from Aldi will do the same job. Check out Taraweeh At Home for a great download.
  • BLOCK SCHEDULE: Block out time to do these things so you're not flustered or confused. What do you want to gain from Ramadan? A better understanding of who you are, who Allah is? Are you planning to sit and mope or grab that rope of Qur'an, of Allah, and of His Rasool? *answer here* and HOW are you going to do that. ← This
    is what you plan.
  • When I was around 15 I photocopied my wall chart and it became my best friend. It helped me roughly structure what I would act on each day with flexibility to move blocks if I got tired, had family to meet and so on. 
If you don't plan your time, main focuses, and what you'll do for thirty days, you'll reach the end deflated, and downbeat on yourself. Avoid that. Plan.

    2. Feel sorry for yourself. And others.

    • Have a pity-party as many times as you need. Then move forward. Loneliness and depression do not have a quick-fix so I can't say just get over it. If you are generally upbeat but now feel down, allow yourself time to feel "alone", with your own soul. 
    • Then branch outwards by thinking of your next-door neighbour; are they alone too? Move outwards into your city, your country, your continent and the world. Everyone will have a shared experience and Ramadan is a major one. Could you reduce someone else's isolation by reaching out to them?
    • We have a safe home, fridges of food, some form of funding and someone that can help out. Say Alhamdulillah in whichever state you're in. It will get better insha-Allah.
    • This is also the time of charity (sadaqah) and donating through online organisations will be just as rewarding if you  call your friends to check they're not struggling. Offer to do a shop for them, lend them a loan or share your food vouchers. Not only will you feel better for helping someone else, their gratitude (shukr) will automatically raise your rank and emotional state insha-Allah.

    3. Have a conversation with Allah.
    • Allah's relationship with you will be a unique one. I am not anyone special in history but I am made by Allah. 
    He is my Creator (Al-Khaliq), my Life-giver (Al-Muhyi) and Provider (Ar-Razzaq). Saying these few names (siffat) of Allah and reflecting on what they mean will bring you closer to Him.
    • Make a sketch, a poster, a post-it note or a journal of your duas and conversations with Allah and read them out loud when you need to. 
    • Back to planning - again, create a space in your home where you will do most of your praying and Qur'an reading, as well as writing a simple list of Zikr, and things you want to talk to Allah about.

    4. DIY your Ramadan space.
    • As a struggling eco-Muslim I fall for shiny Islamic consumerism within a few clicks and I'm trying to reduce that. I also like to decorate our house with last-year's stuff and welcome Ramadan with colour and cleanliness. 
    • Instead of spending money or displaying decorations for show, craft some paper decorations or use what you already have at home. Sing a Ramadan Song or read a book to your children together about Ramadan around the world.
    • We're in day 8-9 now of Ramadan but it's not too late to spruce up your house by decluttering the shelves, removing "noisy" ornaments or furniture that get in the way or washing your prayer rugs for a fresh feel. Attar, oud, perfume, fabric softener, are all simple touches to change the atmosphere. Basically, Febreeze the house, it's worth it. 
    • Collect your favourite things around the house like paintings, lanterns, your best mug or fancy serving tray and organise them into a simple table layout. Lay down prayer rugs and perfume the air, grab your favourite Zikr books or kids books to make-shift a reading corner, a mini mosque even. 
    The Ramadan sky is never the same
    • If that's too much take it down a notch further. Take a daily nature/landscape photo and after every 10 days analyse any changes, make a collage of flowers or leaves you find and allow your kids to question and look at these signs of Allah. Teach yourself and them about the delicate and immense design of these things. Write it down. Hang it up. Make it your own. 
    • It's not the look or cost that matters and please, please, don't compare your home or decorations and plans to others. Allah does not look at our appearances, rather it's the intention and love that counts.

    5. Find your online community.
    • For social birds that need to interact direct yourselves to the plethora of online seminars and courses to burst some knowledge through live chats. There's a really cute puppet show by SeekersGuidance, based on a classical text (Shifa of Qadi Iyad) that's child-friendly and funny. Try it out.
    • During Suhoor time, swap what you had read the day before with friends.
    • Plan if you want to share any reading or group Zikr for that today, using video conferencing or Google Docs. Join Facebook groups, change your Instagram feed to quotes, Muslim comics and teachers who will share Ramadan guidance. 
    • Having an online community is a temporary substitute for new and born-Muslims and I appreciate it's not the same as a face-to-face conversation, but it's miles better than no conversation at all.

    6. Learn something new.
    • It doesn't need to be wholly Quran-based or "Islamic". Learning to cook for yourself for example is spiritual and fun; beneficial in the long run when you can surprise family with a home-cooked meal. 
    • Picking up a self-help article from your stacks of old magazines (remember them?) or enrolling for an online webinar will really add to your skills and give you something practical to learn in your time. 

    • In the last 6-7 weeks I've joined a calligraphy course and am growing plants, my sister learned to play the Ukele, my son is reading colours in Spanish and my mother has sewn clothes she had stashed away from years ago. 
    • These are interesting things for our own well-being and development. Like I said, learning something does not need to be from a Muslim book.

    7. Have a Ramadan-marathon.
    • QUR'AN MARATHON: So this is something I've done in the past and I would say try it once! It is hard, don't get me wrong, and it's all about how much energy you can exert. 
    • The aim is to sit and read in one block without breaking. Of course, distractions or chores or whatever have to go on, but repeat your Wudu and come back. 
    • As soon as you think 'I can't do anymore', change your actions altogether. If you feel you're going to crash just stop. Watch a video, talk to family, make a drawing, or do nothing.
    • Get your family involved on a WhatsApp group and ask them to bookmark what they read that day. It's surprising how much you can accomplish with a little competition to motivate you. Make a goal to finish a Juz within 30minutes (just an idea) or the whole Qur'an or more within the month, or see how long it takes everyone to read a particular Surah for x number of times.
    • A Ramadan-athon isn't limited to Qur'an. Example: Memorising 10 of Allah's names within 5 days, praying Salat ON TIME, building a lego mosque using x blocks, painting a Hadith.
    • Winner gets... A socially distanced hug? ^_^

    8. Don't compare to others.
    • Ramadan in lockdown also opens up the world of overactive social media and fake news or just blah-news. We see the wonderfully iconic photos of someone else's Iftar meal, their Ramadan crafts, their live Tarawih at home, their Tilawat or the Hadith they wrote, and we can easily slip into "I wish I was like that" disappointment. They are not like you.
    • What do you bring to the table? What are your skills? Use your talents to make your Ramadan beautiful in your own way. Don't be shy in sharing that with others or just showing your family. Ramadan is the month of the Ummah so be the best Ummah of RasoolAllah you can - at home!

    My passion: Scrapbooking

    9. Make a list of why you enjoy being alone.
    • Islam as a concept is also based on community togetherness but do you remember Islam's beginnings? 
    • Which prophet wasn't isolated? - Adam, Yunus, Yusuf, Musa, Isaa! Which sahabi hid away to grow? - Umar, 'Uthman, Salman al-Farsi. Which Muslim woman in history lived alone to make magic? - Maryam, Hajrah, mothers of Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Shafii. 
    • We take lessons from these giants who spent so much time completely alone, as that would be too much for us. So why not be happy that we are copying their Sunnah!
    • Anyway, there are a couple of big parts of Islam that encourage self-isolation: Khulwa (complete seclusion for a period of time) and coming up in Ramadan: I'tikaaf, (a 10-day isolation to ramp up the Ibadat).
    • It's a few weeks of restriction but it will reveal things we may not have seen. Make a mind-map of the benefits of silence, of seclusion and soul-searching. Revel in it.

    10. Lastly, I got 10 points after all: If you are overwhelmed, ask for help.
    • There are services that you can reach out to and it goes without saying, Allah Almighty is your Lord and mine. He is never far and is always protecting you. If you have been affected by Covid-19 contact your local healthcare to give you advice, and make dua to Allah for ease and Shifa very quickly.

    Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.
    ~ Qur'an, (2:214)

    • Life is spent alone. We meet people, our friends, enemies, a spouse and children. Yet I am only accountable for my soul, always. I will work, pray, eat, live in the customised path Allah has given me so although I will bounce in and out of someone else's path like an atom, nobody else is sharing my breathing moments. Be brave, turn to Allah, make this month the one where you come out better.

    You can do it. insha'Allah.
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