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Ayad out side, bunting hung between the buildings behind him, with glasses resting on his head smiles to camera

MS, faith and marking Ramadan during the pandemic

Ayad Marhoon

This week sees the end of the holy month of Ramadan in 2021. Ayad tells us about his Ramadan, and how his faith helps him with his MS.

Faith and my MS diagnosis

Faith has had an increasingly massive part to play in my life after my diagnosis.

Receiving a diagnosis makes you feel like your life is going into crisis, especially when it comes to faith. So many questions arise, and you begin to question everything you’ve ever believed in.

But to my surprise, all the reflection and questioning I started to do only ever consolidated my beliefs, but with a much better understanding of how my beliefs actually meant something in my life.

A month of reflection

We’ve just gone through the month of Ramadan, a month for reflection and self-improvement, so I thought I would give few of my own reflections.

Some take Ramadan as a time where they can really build their personal spiritual connection with Allah. Others take the opportunity to congregate and collectively build a spiritual connection to Allah. That spiritual connection can be built in so many different ways, from reading the Quran and reciting supplications, to servitude to others and being more charitable.

But one thing for sure is that because of current circumstances, everyone has had to change the way in which they spend their Ramadan. I know that this has been very difficult for me personally.

Finding community in tough times

Navigating the pandemic, my worsening condition, final year exams and applications for master’s degrees has been tough. And Ramadan happened to come around at the same time as all of that this year.

Having so much on my plate has made it difficult for me to make the most out of Ramadan.

But I feel like, against all odds, I’ve managed to maintain the community aspect of Ramadan - even though it has been confined to my own home and the people within it.

This aspect is what I believe helps me build a spiritual closeness to Allah that would be impossible for me to attain on my own. Still being able to cook with my two housemates each day and then sitting down together to break the fast in each other’s company while reflecting on life together is one of the things I am most grateful for.

My disability was a common topic of discussion, thinking about how things have changed since we moved in together 2 years ago and sharing our personal reflections. This often led to a discussion about our own personal connections to Allah.

A period of change

And so, as Ramadan comes to an end, along with my exams, the tenancy with my housemates and the COVID-19 pandemic (fingers crossed), it’s going to be important for me to properly adapt myself to a new life with my ever-fluctuating disability.

It’s definitely something I’m excited for, but very nervous about too. We’ll see what the future holds.