Muslims around the world are observing the fast of Ramadan, one of the pillars of Islam. The ninth month of the Islamic Calendar is considered one of the most sacred of all months. In it believers abstain from food, water and other lawful things from dawn to dusk in obedience to the Commands of Allah.
The month is believed to be a month of mercy and beneficience and that whosoever obeys the commandment and fulfills the obligation of fasting will attain the mercy of Allah and salvation.
Believers are encouraged to be kind and forgiving during this month. They are also expected to be more charitable to the poor, needy and less fortunate ones in society.
In addition to keeping the fast, special prayers are offered at night. These supererogatory prayers are known as Tarawih and locally as Naafilah. Believers congregate at mosques and are led by the Imam to offer these prayers in readiness for the fast of the next day.
This year however these prayers and other activities of Ramadan have been, like all other human endeavors, restricted to some extent by the novel coronavirus which is wreaking havoc in the world.
Public gatherings are banned in most countries and mosques have been closed down to avoid the spread of the disease. For this reason, this year’s Ramadan has not been the same.
During the last ten days of Ramadan, Muslims believe there is a special night full of spiritual significance and light. This is a night of forgiveness and spiritual elevation for whoever worships Allah in it.
This night is known as Laylatul Qadr or the Night of Decree. This night is believed to be better than a thousand months (roughly eighty years which is the usual lifespan of man). This therefore means it is the most important day in a man’s life.
Like all other things, the celebration of this day will this year be affected very much. People usually gather in mosques to pray and remember their Maker which will not be possible this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is hoped that believers will, in their various homes, use this night to supplicate the Divine to take away this coronavirus which is disrupting the lives and livelihoods of all people in the world.