Ramadan in Lockdown
By Sohaib Tariq
Every year, millions of Muslims observe Ramadan. 2020 is no exception. Except this IS an exceptional year; around the globe Muslims had to practice fasting under lockdown restrictions, adding another a new dimension to an already challenging ritual. Here at Vario, UK-based apprentice Sohaib Tariq gives his experience of Ramadan in 2020.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. This is called fasting (Sawm). Children are not expected to fast until they reach puberty, usually around the age of 14. In 2020 Ramadan began on the evening of Friday 24th April and will end on or around the 24th of May. However, this year Ramadan was very different for Muslims around the world. Usually, in Ramadan families invite others over for Iftar (breaking of the fast) but due to Covid-19 this was not possible. Also due to the closure of Mosques around the UK we were not able to attend Tarawih (Evening prayer) which meant we had to pray at home. I have shared a couple of days of Ramadan with you and shared with you what it was like to be observing Ramadan in a very unique year.
My alarm clock goes off at 3:30am and the last thing I want to do is get out of bed. Suhoor (Sunrise) today is at 4:16am. So I quickly cook up a few slices of toast and a couple of eggs with a glass of orange juice. I force down almost a litre of water before sunrise. It’s a Saturday so after eating I stay up playing my Xbox with a few mates hoping to wake up later in the day.
I wake up at around 1:30pm and go for a quick 2k jog to keep myself active during the lockdown. It’s now 2:30pm, my stomach is growling and begging me to eat or drink something (the run definitely didn’t help). I decide to hop back onto the Xbox. This keeps me distracted and stops me from thinking about food for a while up until Iftar which is at 8:26pm. I’m relieved that I survived the first day as this is usually the most difficult. For dinner I have some grilled chicken with a side of spicy rice.
Today is the first working day while fasting. I wake up at around 7:30am, freshen up and start working. Work is usually a good way to keep myself distracted from the fact that I haven’t had breakfast or lunch. I finish work and realise that I need to go shopping. I put on my mask and gloves and make my way to my local supermarket which is around a 10 minute walk from my home. I wait in the queue and it is boiling hot outside and there around 15-20 people ahead of me (I would love a glass of cold orange juice at this point). I get my shopping and walk home.
When I get home it is around 6:30pm. To my relief there is only 2 hours left until fasting but I am starving. So I decide to do the only thing I can really do is hop on the Xbox again. This keeps me distracted until around 8pm and I prep the dinner table and wait until it is time to open my fast. Today I’m eating homemade pizza. Food always tastes much better when you haven’t eaten for the past 16 hours.
Today marks the halfway point at I’m pretty much getting used to fasting. Today is a Saturday and again there really isn’t much to do. Over the last few days I have realised how much time eating and prepping food actually takes. I woke up at around 3pm today as I was up until around 3am anyway so stayed up until sunrise. I decide to have a BBQ today so I grab some coal and skewers from the supermarket.
I marinated some chicken and lamb yesterday so all I had to do was get the BBQ ready. The Asian BBQ consists of 3 items; bricks, coal and the food. I had everything ready for around 7:30pm so got started on the food and this is one the hardest things about Ramadan smelling the food but not being able to eat it until sunset. I can’t wait for Eid to come, ‘only 15 more days’ I tell myself.
Day 30 (Eid)
Today marks the end of Ramadan. Eid this year was also very different – from having to connect with family virtually and having to pray the Eid prayer at home. Usually I’d meet loads of the family and stuff my face with as much food as possible. Ramadan this year was definitely one to remember.