Jordan’s second Ramadan under lockdown

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AMMAN — The coronavirus pandemic and ongoing restrictions on movement and gatherings have changed Jordanians’ expectations and plans for the holy month of Ramadan.اضافة اعلان

Citizens spoke of the need to change the Ramadan routine, which is associated with religious rituals, in addition to thirty days of quality-time spent with family and friends. The social quality-time has been killed by the ban on movement and gatherings.

However, maybe there is an upside of this isolation from friends and the loved ones: “getting closer to God,” according to people interviewed for the purposes of this story. 

“In every Ramadan, there are some traditions that distract us from focusing on the religious side,” said Duaa Ghassan in an interview with Jordan News.  “Social gatherings, feasts, and invitations are not bad practices, but they just consume the time that should be dedicated for praying, reciting Quran, and performing worshipping practises.”

Duaa also said that the lockdown and the transition to a mostly online life encouraged her to plan to invest the money she saved in charitable works.

“Renting a hall for Ramadan feasts, shopping, and daily expenses are reduced to the minimum,” Duaa said, which “allows us to allocate money to contribute to a well digging project in an African country.”

Although the circumstances of the past Ramadan were difficult, due to the COVID-19 crisis, some have turned their spiritual time into social activities.

“We started to pray together as a group, a thing that we could not do before the lockdown,” said Qamar Alghazawi, adding that it helped them to greatly manage their time and re-prioritize Ramadan activities. 

Likewise, Hadeel Hamoudeh said that the closure would “give [them] more time to sit together as a family while watching new Ramadani soap operas and TV shows.”

Ramadan is known as the peak season for TV drama in the Arab world.

Moreover, this Ramadan will be “a great opportunity to clear one’s mind, meditate, and keep calm, away from crowded events and exhausting social commitments,” said Heba Elayyan.

“The preservation of human life has priority over religious duties,” said Alaa Al-Ajawi, who holds a master’s degree in Islamic jurisprudence, regarding Jordan’s decision to suspend tarawih prayers (voluntary group prayers performed in mosques in Ramadan) at mosques.

The government imposed a full lockdown on Fridays and a 7pm to 6am curfew every day until the 12th of May, which is the expected date for the first day of Eid.

Minister of State for Media Affairs Sakher Dudin has recently said that the government was hoping the rate of positive COVID-19 tests would continue to decrease, but the past two weeks have witnessed an “unfortunate increase”.

“Any new updates concerning the re-opening of mosques to perform Maghreb, Isha’a, and Fajr prayers during the curfew depend on developments in the epidemiological situation,” Dudin said.