Missing the Ramadan rush

The Muslim holiday just doesn't feel the same without its key feature: togetherness

Brightly colored lanterns fill hallways, balconies and windows across the globe. The mouthwatering aroma of baked goods wafts through homes and small corner bakeries. An intoxicating buzz fills the air as children run around helping their parents decorate. As Ramadan commences, Muslims from all walks of life prepare for the Islamic holy month of fasting.

But this Ramadan is a little different than most. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic and the stay-at-home cautions that have come along with it, many Muslims have had to adapt their yearly Ramadan rituals and traditions. While houses of worship were deemed “essential services” in Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott (and thereby allowed to continue operating), many mosques decided to close their doors to curb the spread of the virus, including Tyler’s East Texas Islamic Society.  

As a result, Tarawih prayers (additional night prayers performed by Muslims during Ramadan), community dinners and religious lessons have been canceled. These community get-togethers are often what make Ramadan special for many Muslims. Pre-med student Rameen Qureshi is no different. Her Ramadan experience has required adjustments she never imagined before. Here is Rameen’s story, recalling what she misses and what she still loves about this holy month.

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Yasmeen Khalifa, a Loop 2019 summer intern, is a Mass Communication and English student at the University of Texas at Tyler. She is the managing and lifestyle editor of The Patriot, a student-run newspaper investigating issues on- and off-campus, exploring the changing East Texas culture, and giving students a voice. Khalifa recently co-founded a new music series in The Patriot titled “Music in the Pines: Exploring Eclectic East Texas.” The series highlights local musicians, venues, concerts and other events as the music scene in East Texas evolves and thrives. Yasmeen also works as a lab technician in the Mass Communication department. Khalifa is the founding president of the Keep Tyler Beautiful Youth Advisory Committee, a group of students working together to encourage beautification, litter reduction and recycling in Tyler.