“It’s going to be very interesting,” said Nabeela Rasheed, a lawyer.
“Muslims around the world are bracing for a Ramadan of the likes they’ve never seen or imagined before,” said Salman Azam, a board member at the Downtown Islamic Center. “We watched our interfaith partners having Seders and Easter dinners virtually and it helped us get ideas for the breaking of the fast.”
The Ramadan dawn-to-darkness fast from eating and drinking is one of the five essential “pillars of Islam,” along with prayer, charity, pilgrimage, and declaration of faith. The fast is usually broken with a nighttime meal, called an “iftar,” a much-anticipated home-cooked feast eaten with friends and relations.
“Ramadan is a time when communities and families gather in large numbers,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “That obviously is not going to happen this Ramadan.”
So what is going to happen? The Downtown Islamic Center is trying to shift Ramadan festivities online.
“This year at DIC, we are emphasizing that social distancing is not social isolation,” said Azam. For congregants breaking the fast alone, “we have set up a virtual room where we will be offering online recipes of popular fast-breaking food items and allow them to showcase their skills and exchange daily reflections, goals and lessons as they break their fast together.”
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