Game of Points from Los Angeles, California
1. What is your name and where are you from?
We are Abdul and Sumaya from Los Angeles, California
2. Can you tell us if you are in lockdown? How strict is the lockdown?
What are you allowed to do in terms of movement? Because LA county has the second highest number of cases in the US (behind only New York) we are in lockdown. We have been under a very strict shelter-in-place order for the last 2 months, and now they announced yesterday that it will likely extend another three months. We are only allowed outside of our house for essential reasons (to get supplies or food; and luckily, they have deemed exercise to be an essential reason). So we are allowed to leave for fresh air and exercise, but all beaches, hiking trails, bike paths and parks are closed. So really all we can do is go for walks in our own neighborhood. All businesses except food stores are closed.
3. Being under these lockdown conditions is sure to have made this Ramadaan different from previous Ramadaans. Can you tell us how this Ramadaan is different? Things that you had done previously in Ramadaan and now due to the lockdown you cannot do these activities?
Ramadan is definitely different this year. We are used to going to our mosque to gather with our friends and community for prayers, but because our mosques are closed, we cannot do that. We did build a small family mosque to use at home, but obviously it is not the same. Also, Sumaya loves hosting extremely lavish iftar parties at our house with many guests, but this year sadly, we are unable to do that as gatherings are outlawed. I was worried too that we would be unable to get supplies to cook our traditional Ramadan foods because for a while the stores here were completely empty because of people panic buying, but luckily that evened out before the start of Ramadan and we were able to get all the ingredients to make the foods that we normally eat. Thank God also that we had the foresight to stalk up on dates two weeks before Ramadan, because in the week leading up to the month, the stores here were completely out of dates. So I do know some Muslim families in the area who have had no dates yet this Ramadan. That’s really sad.
4. Can you share a positive message/ impact that spending Ramadaan under these new conditions has brought about for you and/or your country?
On a positive note, we are both working from home this Ramadan as both of our works are closed. We both have full time jobs and in the past, balancing the long fasting hours, plus work was incredibly difficult. We never were in the habit of waking up for sahoor because we both have incredibly demanding jobs that force our minds to be active all day. In the past, we found that the hardest part of fasting was the lack of sleep over time, as we would stay up late for prayer, then wake up extremely early for sahoor and then off to work all day with no time to nap. But this year, because we are working from home and able to rearrange our work hours better, we are waking for sahoor for the first time in YEARS lol because we are able to nap during the days. Also, both of us are really into the gym and fitness. Abdul actually competes in Body Building competitions and has won some titles like “California Most Muscular” He does this just as a hobby, not a career, but weightlifting is a passion. Sumaya works part time in a gym as a fitness instructor (again, not as her career, but just because she loved being in the gym and has a passion for teaching fitness, so she just decided to do it lol) So, because of this we could not stop training just because it was Ramadan. This was incredibly taxing on our bodies in the past, especially as we could not fuel with protein after or drink water throughout our very grueling workouts. But this year, because the gyms are closed anyway, it has forced us to slow down. We do have an at-home gym, but we are only utilizing it at night (since we cannot go to the mosque anyway it is freeing up our night time schedule for that). In short, this Ramadan has been the easiest it’s ever been for us. We find ourselves breezing through this month for the first time in forever, alhamdulilah. Additionally, our daughter is fasting the whole month for the first time ever. We never let her do that before because she is in a highly competitive school program and needs her focus, sleep and full energy for that. So in the past, we’ve only let her fast on the weekends, despite her protests. But this year, since she is home schooling virtually anyways and her hours are flexible, she is able to fast the entire month, and we are very proud of her for that. What a blessing that her first obligatory year of fasting came at a time when we were all home, so it’s made it easy for her.
Thank you Abdul and Sumaya for sharing your experiences with us. If you would like to get in touch with Abdul and Sumaya please see their details below:
@Malak from South Carolina (USA)
- What is your name and where are you from? (Country, City). (Current city where you are spending this Ramadaan).
My name is Malak.
I currently reside in South Carolina. However, I only planned to be here for 1.5 years to check off living on the water & on an island. However, due to the virus I decided to postpone it a bit.
- Can you tell us if you are in lockdown? How strict is the lockdown? What are you allowed to do in terms of movement?
Yes, all non-essential business are shut down. Like most places, we are only allowed to go out for essentials.
- Being under these lockdown conditions is sure to have made this Ramadaan different from previous Ramadaans. Can you tell us how this Ramadaan is different? Things that you had done previously in Ramadaan and now due to the lockdown you cannot do these activities?
We are unable to attend family iftaars and attend the mosque for lectures. However I am engaging in virtual ones any chance I can Alhamdulillah.
- Can you share a positive message/ impact that spending Ramadaan under these new conditions has brought about for you and/or your country?
In general, there is always a silver lining! For me personally I work from home hence not much has changed for me Alhamdulillah.
I believe generally speaking though, this lockdown has allowed others to humble themselves further and work on what needs to be worked on. It has also allowed others to slow down.
Thank you @DearMalak for this interview. If you would like to get in touch with DearMalak and find out more about her and what she does, here are links to her social media pages and her website.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dearmalak/?hl=en
- Tik Tok: @DearMalak or click this link https://vm.tiktok.com/c9K9QV/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DearMalakO/
- Website: https://dearmalak.com/