Ramadan ‘groundbreaking’ this year as Windsor Muslims prepare for socially-distanced celebration

For Khadija Shamisa, Ramadan is usually a time to come together each evening with her sisters and parents for feasting and prayers. But this year, the month-long religious celebration will be very different. 

“We’ve never seen Ramadan like this,” said Shamisa.

“Ramadan is a very social month. We don’t eat all day, but at the end of the day, it’s a custom where we gather together to eat together in large groups of people. We have different families that hosts large dinners. There is not really a day that goes by that you’re not eating at somebody else’s dinner or with other people.”

This year’s Ramadan, which begins Thursday evening, promises to be “ground-breaking,” according to a leader in Windsor’s Muslim youth community. 

Co-ordinator of the Muslim chaplaincy at the University of Windsor, Shaymaa Zantout, said she expects people may be able to focus more on their personal faith.

Zantout said the local mosque is planning many online events to fill the gap of in-person gatherings. 

“Spending more time on self-reflection, spending more time on reading the Quran. Since we can’t go to the mosque, now definitely praying at home will take a front seat, tuning in to some of those programs that are happening,” she said. 

LISTEN| Hear more about this year’s Ramadan changes:

It will be an unusual Ramadan. The Islamic holy month involves getting together, for prayer, charitable activities and evening feasts. How much of a damper will the physical distancing rules put on the celebration? Tony speaks with Khadija Shamisa, and Shaymaa Zantout. 9:57

Shamisa said she also expects Ramadan to be a more reflective time this year, and she plans to focus on individual worship.

The Windsor Islamic Association will be making the daily five prayers available online at www.windsormosque.com.

Prayers will be led by Imam Mohamed Mahmoud as Windsor Mosque will remain closed to all members of the community, 

A full list of other online gatherings and programs can also be found on the website, including the grocery supply initiative the organization started a few weeks ago for low-income families. 

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