Muslims turn to tech for spiritual and social connection during holy month of Ramadan
TORONTO -- Muslims are connecting online spiritually, socially and to stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the virus closed his Scarborough mosque, Imam Yusuf Badat has been appearing daily on social media giving sermons, and messages of hope, with up to 1,000 people tuning in.
Badat said Ramadan is challenging this year because it’s normally a time to worship and socialize together, and people are sad the pandemic is keeping them apart.
It’s one reason he’s adding to his online programming during holy month.
“We have a Quran study that’s going to take place. Normally in Ramadan we have a lot of Quranic recitation. There is a special connection with the Quran and Ramadan,” Badat told CTV News Toronto.
“Even though it doesn’t live up the standards they are used to, it is some connection, it is some insight and collaboration together,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community has launched VirtualRamadan.ca.
It’s expecting thousands across the country to join its event on Saturday, including what could become Canada’s largest virtual Iftar dinner.
The program includes a tribute to health-care workers, presentations by youth and politicians.
“To create a channel and a vessel that allows the community members to stay connected,” Safwan Choudhry with Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at told CTV News Toronto.
“As result we’re actually taking this as a positive, and have instead opened it to all Canadians to participate,” he said.
An important part of Ramadan is fasting, no water or food from sunrise to sundown.
As a result, Toronto’s Sister Fit, a gym catering to Muslim women has created specific online sessions.
“We want to keep our energy levels up,” director Fatima Lee Garsi said.
Still, she said the activities are going to be gentle.
“We not going to be doing 100 burpees or anything like that. We want to be stretching and strengthening without too much exerting too much effort,” Lee Garsi said.