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Isolation, community and spirituality: British Muslim experiences of Ramadan in lockdown

Jones-Ahmed, Laura 2022. Isolation, community and spirituality: British Muslim experiences of Ramadan in lockdown. Religions 13 (1) , 74. 10.3390/rel13010074

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Abstract

Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, is typically a time associated with individual worship and communal gatherings as Muslims meet, eat and pray together. In 2020 especially, COVID-19 had a significant impact on the observation of the holy month. With lockdown measures in place, mosques were closed and there were prohibitions on visiting family and friends, making the month an unusual occasion. This paper draws upon qualitative PhD research on Ramadan 2020 in Britain comprising more than 50 Ramadan photo diaries from diverse Muslim participants and follow-up interviews. The findings highlight how participants experienced the benefits of isolation by being able to reflect and connect more with God and via the establishment of “Ramadan corners” in homes, while at the same time missing the mosque and the Muslim community. I further highlight how communal aspects of the holy month were maintained and transformed to suit lockdown conditions, including the use of online activities, praying in congregation at home and sharing food. Emerging from these two facets of Ramadan, I explore ideas of socially dependent spirituality and how participants negotiated communal and individual elements of their spiritual lives. Through the diverse examples discussed, I argue that material, embodied, aesthetic and emotive practices were emphasised in 2020 to recreate a ‘feeling’ of Ramadan when typical expressions of the month were unavailable.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Additional Information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2077-1444
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 11 January 2022
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2022 12:22
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/147002

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