Ramadan and community through digital connectivity19/05/2020
When the month of Ramadan started in lockdown this year, Muslims across the world knew it wouldn't quite be the same. In this blog, Spartan Neveen Elasar shares her experiences of a new Ramadan and how technology is continuing to bring people together to celebrate their faith in an uncertain time.
By Spartan Neveen Elasar
On Friday the 24th of April, the holy month of Ramadan commenced. This year, it will be unlike any other. The usual way in which Muslims celebrate Ramadan includes togetherness in prayers and ending the day’s fast with relatives, extended family, neighbours and friends. The current global health crisis and social distancing rules mean that for the first time, members of our community must find new means to maintain a sense of togetherness while keeping apart. Technology is playing a vital role in this process.
I was pleased to see plenty of people holding virtual iftars (the meal to break the day’s fasting) for everyone to join and still feel a sense of community. This is a great way of utilising the technologies we have available, especially for those now celebrating Ramadan alone.
Families and friends can stay connected in similar ways. For example, many places of worship are hosting online sessions, streams and other virtual events that families can attend remotely. Additionally, the pandemic has prompted cities around the world to host the call to prayers from mosques out loud for the first time ever, so that Muslims can feel the essence of the month while they remain indoors.
A lot of efforts are being made to enhance a sense of togetherness amongst the community, with Sparta Global leading from the front. As a company, they have been advocating and actively promoting digital connectivity in the community by using platforms like Teams to deliver; Diversity & Inclusion events, touchpoints, HR forums, daily updates that promote positivity and productivity and even company-wide online quizzes! This has helped me to keep in touch with colleagues who are going through the challenges of self-isolation.
The importance of staying connected and keeping in touch in times like these cannot be overlooked. For many, lockdown takes an emotional toll - particularly during special events like Ramadan when we would normally spend time with our families, friends, neighbours and communities. However, it is essential that we continue to celebrate events of cultural significance by using the online and digital means that are available to us to feel closer, to support each other and most importantly, to share positivity.
The main thing to remember is that we are not going through these tough times alone. This year, celebrating Ramadan takes on a new value, as we have find new ways to maintain our spirit of belonging and continue our traditions while staying at home to protect others.
I wish everyone observing this month a blessed Ramadan. Stay safe and healthy.