Ramadan 2020: Online Iftar Gatherings to Connect Canadians

Ramadan is just around the corner as Muslims expect it on April 23.

The celebrations of the holy month have been affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus which forced the closure of mosques worldwide.

In the Canadian maritime province of Prince Edward Island, members of the Muslim community expect a somber Ramadan this year.

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The holy month is usually marked by daily fasting, with the evenings often taken up by families and community gathering to break fast and pray together.

These gatherings will be missed this year, according to Zain Esseghaier, a spokesperson for the Muslim Society of PEI, as Island Muslims observe physical distancing advice from the Chief Public Health Office.

“That part of Ramadan won’t be taking place this year so it’s going to be a very different celebration of the month,” said Esseghaier, CBC reported.

“It’s going to be hard on everybody.”

Iftar is not the only opportunity for Muslims to gather in PEI as many young people get together to share suhoor, or pre-fajr meal.

With each household celebrating on its own, Esseghaier expects there will be some connecting over video conferencing and other technology.

“It will not replace gatherings themselves, the sense of brotherhood and sisterhood, but it will be the next best thing,” said Esseghaier.

“It’s going to be sad, in a way, but that’s life, I guess. We have to deal with what we’re given.”

Zain Esseghaier will miss the social gatherings. (Tom Steepe/CBC)
Zain Esseghaier will miss the social gatherings. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Ramadan Challenges

Ramadan this year would be different with people now in a global lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many Muslim scholars have been working on finding solutions for Muslims during Ramadan.

Earlier this month, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Canada, said that a virtual Jumu`ah and Taraweeh prayer could be performed as mosques remain shut.

The renowned scholar referred to instants in the Islamic history where the interpretation of texts varied according to time and place.