As Ramadan officially began last week, Muslims in the Bay Area are adapting to the new normal while preparing for a month-long of fasting and spiritual devotion. For many Muslims, it’s their families, friends, and community that keeps them going, but with a lot of them being apart due to COVID-19, it has become a testament to their perseverance.
The doors of the Muslim Community Association of San Francisco Bay Area, the largest Islamic center in the United States, has been closed since March 13 and has opted to conduct sermons and other activities during Ramadan through Zoom. The MCA, like many mosques in the United States, are facing financial troubles as they are not being able to congregate and raise donations for community relief programs and operational costs.
“We at MCA must do our part in easing the difficulties of those in our community trapped in such difficult circumstances. Moreover, on the operations side, although MCA facilities are closed, we still have fixed operational costs that must be met,” a statement from MCA Board members.
As millions of Americans are currently confined in their homes, Muslim Americans are obligated to observe special rituals and practices during Ramadan in their homes, which are normally practiced in the mosque. Sumaya Fiqy, a Bay Area resident, shared her experience of what Ramadan has been like for her and her family.
“The biggest difference between this Ramadan and previous ones is simply that sense of community that we no longer have with the lockdown. There’s something about gathering with others during this blessed month that boosts our spirituality, but now it’s a bit difficult because we’re constantly trying to recreate that same effect in our own homes,” Fiqy said in an interview.
As can be seen, religious holidays like Easter, Passover, and Ramadan are being observed differently as people have adapted social distancing. Despite the suspension of gatherings in places of worship, there remains a common realization among people, that solemn holidays should still be commemorated to the best of their ability even during troubling times because they are unlike any other time of the year.