Family and faith mean everything to Kifah Shah.
“Everywhere you look it says Ramadan, Ramadan Mubarak,” said Shah, giving a tour of her apartment.
What You Need To Know
- Kifah Shah created DigitalRamadan.com to help Muslims find ways to stay connected despite the obstacles of the pandemic
- The site offers resources and strategies to feel less isolated during the holy month
- She created the site last year but finds the second year of Ramadan during the pandemic particularly challenging
“In Ramadan, people that you haven’t seen in a long time, show up, they come through, they come to the mosque, they come to the gatherings to the events,” she said.
But as Ramadan brings a time of year that normally calls for family and community to draw closer, the pandemic is once again keeping loved ones apart.
“You miss that,” said Shah. “Thinking about it is actually kind of gets you emotional.”
The dates that she would prepare for family and friends to break the daily fast that Muslims perform during the holy month, are for just her and her husband this year. It’s one reason why she created digitalramadan.com — a virtual resource guide and stand-in for the large gatherings and group prayers that aren’t allowed this year.
“We know a lot of ways that we’re being inventive with, that we can figure out how to still be with one another, so of course there’s a lot of digital programming,” said Shah.
She started the site last year with tips and strategies to help Muslims feel less isolated during the lockdown and she’s finding it even more valuable this time around.
“I’m having a really hard time, especially the second time without being in community because I think in the past year we’ve experienced a lot of grief,” Shah added.
Shah is doing her best to offer some optimism and tips to stay encouraged, to preserve that special sense of togetherness and selflessness even in the age of COVID.
“This is the month of so many blessings,” Shah said. “This is the month of giving and being generous and being loving and warm,” said Shah, “and so being with people during the month means that you are around people at their best selves.”