Ramadan in times of COVID-19

May 29, 2020 – Defence Stories

Author: Second-Lieutenant Azzam Abu-Rayash

Caption

The chain of command has stood by me during this time, providing me with a prayer space and a flexible meal schedule to allow for my spiritual obligations.

Photo: Second-Lieutenant Brian Fernandes

Eid Al Fitr marks the end of the blessed month of Ramadan for Canadian Muslims across the nation. For Muslims, Ramadan is the holiest month of the year in which we fast from sunrise to sunset. This not only includes abstaining from drinking and eating, but it is also a time when we strive to develop our character. Ramadan is also a spiritual time for Muslims as we gather as communities in our mosques for worship. Muslims practice charity and prioritize service to others during the month. Ramadan is a time of reflection to remind us of those who are suffering from hunger and poverty, so that we may be grateful for what we have. It's also a time of joy when we get together with family and friends for Iftar, the evening meal when we break our fasts; but not this year.

In addition to serving as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), I serve as an Imam at my mosque. Ramadan has always been a time I devote to lead my community in night prayers and other spiritual activities.

This year, COVID-19 has changed how Muslims around the world experience Ramadan. Despite this change, the fundamental core belief of our faith and what Ramadan represents remains: Service of others.

This year, instead of leading the congregation in my mosque, it has been an honor to serve as a CAF member with Op LASER, the military’s COVID-19 response to help those impacted by this pandemic. As an observant Muslim, CAF gave me a refreshed sense of purpose to live my values during Ramadan and COVID-19.

Caption

As part of Op LASER, I am currently serving as an Operations Assistant Officer utilizing CFTPO, ACIMS and other DWAN infrastructure.

Photos: Second-Lieutenant Brian Fernandes

As part of Op LASER, I am currently serving as an Operations Assistant Officer, utilizing CFTPO, ACIMS and other DWAN infrastructure, I have assisted the Operations Officer by data collection, compilation and processing to make informed decisions based on available qualifications, staffing levels and operational readiness. I also worked as the Assistant Adjutant for TBG1. This deployment has allowed me to develop a spectacular, memorable and deep fraternity, comradery and friendship with my team in Operational Support. We as a team have established a very healthy physical routine of completing 100-200 push ups a day and running 5-10 km every other day (all while fasting for me).

The chain of command has embraced understanding, inclusivity and diversity while demonstrating how all members of Canadian society are valued members of the forces. The chain of command has stood by me during this time, providing me with a prayer space and a flexible meal schedule to allow for my spiritual obligations. As I serve in my post, while fasting or not fasting, I serve to my fullest capability. While abstaining from food and water for over 16 hours can be challenging, I'm grateful for the incredible opportunity to have observed Ramadan while serving my country.

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