The coronavirus changed how Ramadan looks. But it will not change our faith in God

Original Op-Ed was published on NBCNEWS.com on April 24, 2020

View the original article here.

Op-ed in Turkish

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan will be different this year. Around the world, mosques will be closed, when they would normally have worshipers spilling out onto the street. Extended families will remain apart, when they would typically gather for Iftar to break the fast and share homemade treats. And shopping malls, cafes and streets will be eerily quiet, when they would normally come alive after dark.

Ramadan still began on Thursday evening, though, and in the early hours on Friday morning, households gathered, as they have for centuries, to share a sleepy suhur — the pre-dawn meal.

Even as the world grapples with COVID-19, the yearly rituals of Ramadan will continue. Throughout the holy month, most of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims will fast between dawn and sunset, spend time in Quranic recitation, self-reflection and prayer in an effort to become closer to God, and give thanks for our blessings. But this year, the prescribed exceptions from fasting for young children, travelers, pregnant mothers and anyone who is sick will now be extended to those feeling symptoms of COVID-19.

Op-ed by F. Gulen