We are now almost through the month-long observance of Ramadan.
A few weeks ago I came across the following quote: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.” This hadith from the Sahih al-Bukhari doesn’t mince words. It seems particularly apt at the moment.
Ramadan will last until May 23rd. It is the holiest month of the year in the Islamic calendar, during which the Qur’an was revealed to the prophet Mohammad. It is observed through prayer and by fasting from sunup to sundown, amongst other traditions throughout the month.
In past years, I’ve had the pleasure of being invited by Muslim friends to share in the breaking of the fast at sundown with an Iftar during Ramadan. In this era of physical distancing, large celebratory Iftars will be difficult if not impossible for most people.
Our home is not far from a mosque, and it is always a delight to see children and their families dressed up in their finest outfits making their way to worship on Eid al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan. The excitement and joy is infectious.
I’ll add these pleasures to the long list of things I am grieving, just as I grieve the Easter and Passover celebrations prevented by the pandemic. Indeed, Muslims, Christians and Jews have all paid a heavy price as the most holy days for each faith are coinciding with the tragedy of COVID-19.
In my post from last month, I quoted T.S. Elliot’s observation in his poem, The Waste Land, that April was the cruelest month. Let us pray that during the month of May the “gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”