Ramadan During Pandemic Calls for Creative Family Celebrations

Rania Kabbani decorated her dining room with lanterns, crescent ornaments, prayer rugs, and festive bowls filled with dates and sweets to recreate the mosque experience for her family of six.

Shortly after breaking fast, her family gathers at 9:45 p.m. nightly to pray and read the Quran. Her husband, Dr. Ihsan Housini, serves as the imam.

“We are experiencing a completely different atmosphere this Ramadan, and it’s a completely different experience for us as a family,” she said.

The holy month when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk is usually a time of togetherness characterized by reflection, worship, and giving. Muslims congregate at the mosque for prayers and Quran recitation, attend gatherings full of abundant food and bustling conversation, and stay up late with friends to go on 4 a.m. breakfast runs.

Families like Kabbani’s have adjusted but can’t help but feel nostalgic for the missed communal times.

Still, Kabbani said she’s grateful to bond with family while sheltering in place. They pass time cooking, baking, gardening, and exercising together. Her older kids pitch in to teach the youngest, 12-year-old Abdullah, new skills like videography when he completes his online classes. Kabbani hopes to read the entire Quran by the end of Ramadan.

“We are praying for everybody to be healthy, God willing, and for everything to go back to normal.” -Rania Kabbani

Dr. Farah Masood, a physician at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Dallas and Sunnyvale and City Hospital at White Rock, grew accustomed to such precautionary measures as filling out forms, checking her temperature, and wearing protective gear. This month she does it all while fasting.

“Whenever I come home, it’s always at the back of my mind,” she said.

Fasting during her demanding job has impelled Masood to put more effort into staying healthy.

Masood’s family spent past Ramadan evenings at the Islamic Association of North Texas or East Plano Islamic Masjid.

But this year, her four children’s schedules make praying together challenging. “My oldest will be taking a quiz, my little one will be in a Girl Scout meeting, and my daughter will be working on a project, so it’s hard to catch up with them.”

When gathered, they discuss what’s going on around the world, how they can contribute to those less fortunate, and increase their good deeds during Ramadan.

Eid al-Fitr falls on May 24. It marks the end of Ramadan when Muslims wear formal clothing and attend morning Eid prayer, followed by festivities and gift-giving.

Though Eid will look different this year, Masood still hopes to celebrate with a small number of Preston Hollow neighbors.

Because one of the virtues of Ramadan is charitable giving, Muslims donate to various causes.

Kabbani supported an initiative that delivers meals from Muslim-owned restaurants to families experiencing food insecurity. Mosques like the Islamic Association of North Texas host weekly food drives and provide drive-through meals on weekends.

Kabbani reminds her children to count their blessings and to supplicate for those experiencing hardship. “We are praying for everybody to be healthy, God willing, and for everything to go back to normal.”

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Dalia Faheid

Dalia Faheid is a writer who has studied and worked in media since 2014. She pursued a BA in Emerging Media and Communication at UTD. She has experience in journalism, marketing, and technical writing. If you have a story idea for her, you can email Dalia at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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