‘The real celebrations will return’ – Ramadan during coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 May 2020

Emdad Rahman says Ramadan is different this year because of coronavirus, but explains that he is really enjoying the

Emdad Rahman says Ramadan is different this year because of coronavirus, but explains that he is really enjoying the "festive" atmosphere. Picture: Emdad Rahman


Coronavirus has created a new normal, with lockdown affecting most aspects of daily life, including religious celebration.

This year’s Ramadan, which began on April 23, has been like no other, but Barking resident Emdad Rahman wants to highlight the positives: “The atmosphere has been quite festive as we have a big family.

“It’s the same prayers, same fasting. We’re doing the same things at home that we would be doing in a congregation.”

By his own admission, Emdad is a “glass half-full” person, always inclined to see the good.

This attitude has enabled him to appreciate this unique Ramadan, which he says has been a “bonding experience” for his family.

Emdad – who grew up in Whitechapel - lives with his wife, parents and three sons, who particularly have become more involved.

The 43-year-old explains that sons Ismael, 21, Talha, 17 and Hamza, 15 are taking on more responsibility because of the unique circumstances, with the entire family more connected to their religion as a result.

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Though they miss attending Mosque, the family are still able to observe Ramadan, with Emdad keen to make the most of this month: “We’re probably never going to have a situation like this again.”

Emdad is known for his positive outlook, and is relishing the opportunity to up his volunteering during this period: “I always do more during Ramadan — this year I am delivering food parcels and books by bike to vulnerable people in the area.”

Emdad is embedded in the east London community, living in Barking while working for Tower Hamlets Council as an attendance welfare adviser.

He works with the Hedgecock community centre foodbank and the One Third soup kitchen, and says volunteering has “always given me a great sense of satisfaction”.

That same feeling warms Emdad as he talks about this year’s Ramadan.

Though he laments that there are no events, Emdad knows the traditional celebrations will return.

For now, the welfare advisor is enjoying the “intimacy” of worship at home with his family.

He adds that Eid, the holiday which marks the end of Ramadan, will also feel different, but that the Muslim community will adjust in the same way.

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