3 households share what Ramadan looks like and means to them this year

By | April 28, 2020

Sana Rana and her husband, Ali Rana, stand in the doorway with their two children Asiya, left, and Zayden. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

As sunset approaches Muslims prepare to break their daily fast during Ramadan, the holiest month for the Islamic faith. 

This year due to public health restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, the month of Ramadan looks a little different.

Rather than praying at mosques or gathering with friends and family, Muslims around the world are preparing meals and praying at home. 

Three households shared what Ramadan means and looks like to them this year.

The Rana Family

Sana Rana says her family looks forward to Ramadan every year. 

For Rana, the month of Ramadan is about coming together as a community.

Her two children are missing the chance to go over to their grandparents house for meals but for her family it’s also a deeply personal journey. 

“What we try to do during Ramadan is become the best versions of ourselves. So we’re going to have a lot of time to focus on that.”

Setting goals is a part of Ramadan for her family, that includes asking questions about how to be a better Muslim, how to be a better person, and how to get closer to God.

Sana Rana and her son Zaydan prepare to open Day 1 on their Ramadan calendar, where he will find a small gift. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

For Zaydan and Asiya they look forward to Ramadan every year. Their mother says that within the last decade there have been a number of fun books and resources to get children excited about the month.

Zayden reads It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Asiya reads Ramadan Around the World. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

Before Ramadan officially begins the Rana children go on a scavenger hunt to find a Ramadan basket, which is filled with books and stationary they use to learn about Ramadan. 

Ramadan runs according to the lunar calendar, beginning and ending with the sighting of the crescent moon. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

As the sun sets, Sana and Ali prepare to eat and drink for the first time since sunrise. The meal they share is called the Iftar.

‘Ramadan it’s kind of like that pause and you get this chance to kind of become the best version of yourself,’ said Rana. ‘If you can do all of that during Ramadan it means you can do it throughout the year.’ (Jonathan Ventura/CBC )

After their meal the Rana family prays. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

After breaking fast the Muslim community would normally go to the mosque for prayer and the reading of the Quran, the Islamic book of guidance. However, this year prayers will have to be done at home or online

“You know we can look at this situation (Covid-19) as something negative but it’s also an opportunity,” said Sana Rana. “So you know take advantage of the opportunity. We have time at home. We have all this time with our families, connect with them, bond with them.” (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

The Mahmudov family 

Eid Mahmudov, left, and his wife Nodira Mahmudov celebrate the second day of Ramadan with their three boys. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

For father Eid Mahmudov the month of Ramadan is a very spiritual and giving month. It’s a month where charity work is a focus for his family. 

Fasting for Mahmudov means that regardless of economic status, everyone who fasts experiences the same things.

 “Regardless of whether they are rich or poor they go through the same experience during the month of Ramadan because they can’t eat or drink like most of the day,” he said. 

Mahmudov believes that fasting opens you up to giving, an essential part of the month of Ramadan. 

This year Mahmudov believes that charity work is even more essential due to COVID-19. 

Nodira Mahmudov brings out food after approximately 16 hours of fasting. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

Eid says normally during Ramadan his family goes to the Mosque every night but because of physical distancing that isn’t possible. Instead they will pray at home. 

‘This year you know because of a social distancing and a pandemic it all kind of feels a bit different,’ said Eid Mahmudov. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

Zayniddin Soyibjonov and Shakhzot Ismoilov

Zayniddin Soyibjonov, left, and Shakhzot Ismoilov have been studying in Canada for two and four years, respectively. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

Now roomates and accounting students at the University of Winnipeg, Shakhzot Ismoilov and Zayniddin Soyibjonov, were originally family friends in Uzbekistan. 

Ismoilov hasn’t been back to Uzbekistan in four years and remembers fondly going to the mosque and praying with family and friends, especially with his father. 

He was taught that Ramandan is about asking for forgiveness from both God and the people you may have wronged throughout the year. 

By doing so he says he becomes a better person.  

Soyibjonov, left, and Ismoilov would normally be working, going to school, and playing sports but because of COVID-19 they are staying home, which they say makes the time pass a little slower than usual while fasting. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

Ismoilov appreciates the multiculturalism of Canada. He believes that if you have different faith or no faith it is important to discipline yourself. He believes the teachings of Ramadan can be valuable to anyone and believes once a year it is a good idea for people to challenge themselves to be more disciplined. 

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