It is four days into Ramadan and social media platforms are filled with new announcements of Ramadan series, digital classes, and programs.
Many mosques and community organizations have organized thought-provoking monthly digital agendas with scholars from around the world.
While the digital platforms and formats utilized for these digital programs vary, the topic and themes remain consistent across all community programs; Ramadan at home.
As an American Muslim, I am humbled and grateful by the intentional effort made by Muslim communities around this country to offer accessible religious content for the community during a time of mosque closures and physical distancing from our community.
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I value the importance of remaining connected to my community through my digital platforms and I understand the need for communities to keep Muslims engaged and actively supported during this special month of Ramadan.
These intentional efforts have increased the availability of teachers and scholars, who may have otherwise been unavailable for the larger community during Ramadan.
But let’s get real; some of us are feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. We are embarking on a Ramadan that will look and feel different for so many of us.
We have been advised by Muslim scholars and community leaders to set Ramadan goals and make a schedule to remain motivated and consistent.
While this advice is sound and advisable, there are some of us that are still finding ways to navigate and manage our trauma from this global pandemic.
For Muslims navigating their new lives at home, many are still trying to identify ways to cope with the daily changes of living life in quarantine.
Some families have experienced a shift in their household income, digital learning frustrations with children at home, and health related issues. Trauma affects our ability to think. It makes us less able to learn because we are in survival mode (Courtois & Ford, 2009).
For Muslims who may be experiencing the effects of trauma and overwhelm, it is essential to release any unnecessary expectations for this upcoming Ramadan. It is okay to commit to wellness, well being, and stillness over webinars, study groups, and digital lectures.
According to Brianna Wiest, an author and writer for The Thought Catalog, we are conditioned to associate stillness with inactivity, and inactivity with failure. We’re trained to be overworked and to believe that if, at any point, we aren’t doing something that contributes to our goals, we’re not doing anything.
In our Islamic tradition, stillness and being engaged in a contemplative state is highlighted in the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as during a period of three years before the archangel Gabriel were to descend with the first verses of the Qur’an, he (pbuh) was inclined by Allah to seek solitude for a full month each year during Ramadan in the Cave of Hira’.
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