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Ramadan Around The World: 8 Muslims Share Their Stories Celebrating The Holy Month

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Ili  •  May 14, 2020

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The beauty of Islam lies in its diversity and during Ramadan, Muslims from across the globe mark this time with vibrant celebrations that are unique to their cultures. Whether it's the food we consume or the traditions we do during the holy month, it truly shows us how colourful Islam is ❤️ It's also beautiful to see how Islam unites all Muslims around the world - even in the face of a pandemic.
Credit: Giphy With just a little over a week left to Ramadan, we've rounded up 8 of our contributors' stories on how they celebrate the holy month, the challenges they face and the communities they live in 😊 Note: The answers have been edited for length and clarity. Also, some of the pictures shared by our contributors were taken from previous years of Ramadan.
1. Auckland, New Zealand (Veronika Edali)
My name’s Veronika Edali, a 25-year-old Russian small-town girl residing in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2010, I hopped on a plane to travel across the oceans holding a one-way ticket in my hand in pursuit of a better life and a brighter future. I was only 15 years-old when moved to another country all by myself - true story!  How is Ramadan like in your country?  I reverted to Islam back in 2013 when I was 18 years old. Ramadan 2020 is my 8th one. Alhamdulillah. Celebrating the holy month of Ramadan in New Zealand is all I know. New Zealand is a diverse, but western country, therefore Muslim people are a minority. However, Auckland has a large Muslim community and a lot of suburbs have their own masjids.  When I think about Ramadan in New Zealand, I see mosques full of people attending tarawih prayers, Muslims nationwide visiting close friends and family for Iftar and Eid Prayers at Eden Park followed by a market event full of delicious food and sweets. This sense of community, support and love within our ummah that you can’t help, but feel deep on your bones during the month of Ramadan always puts a big smile on my face and fills me up with gratitude for the best decision of my life.  Throughout my journey as a revert to Islam, I’ve only fasted through spring, winter and autumn of the Southern Hemisphere. The longest fast for me was only 12 hours, which is not very long if you compare it to other countries like Iceland, where fasts can last close to 22 hours. We usually wake up at 5 am for suhoor, start fasting at 5.30 am and we break our fast at 5.30 pm. The weather is very cool right now as we are approaching winter, therefore we don’t get too hot or very thirsty throughout our fast. This will change as Ramadan shifts towards summer for us in a few years time. What's a typical day like for you in Ramadan? I’m a stay-at-home working mother, who has scheduling freedom since I run my own business. I’m so grateful for it! I get to organise my work around my life and not the other way around. I’m able to make every prayer on time and choose to allocate as much time for spiritual learning as I need to. I would never take this freedom for granted. Most days, I hang out with my son, work when he naps, cook and bake for iftar and spend much needed time with my family. What’s your biggest challenge/struggle during Ramadan and how do you overcome it? The biggest challenge for me would be not being able to fast due to pregnancy/breastfeeding. When I’m unable to fast for whatever reason, I don’t feel as connected as I’d like to be. Therefore, whenever I don’t fast I try to get an extra prayer in, listen to Quran and be mindful to nurture that spiritual connection that any Muslim can relate to during the month of Ramadan.  This year, Ramadan is celebrated under special circumstances such as mosque closures and stay-at-home measures. How has it affected the Ramadan activities in Auckland? A lot of people are very sad that they are unable to attend the mosque or visit friends and extended family for iftar. Just like anywhere in the world, New Zealanders are deeply affected by the pandemic. Staying connected on social media helps, especially for reverts who often celebrate Ramadan on their own and this year they don’t get to go to the masjid and connect with their Muslim community.  Since it’s a very trying and uncertain time for so many people, I like to use my social media presence to encourage people to focus on the positive side of things and appreciate the precious moments they get to spend with their close family as well as practice mindfulness and gratitude for everything we have and are still able to do despite the restrictions.  How are you spending your Ramadan differently this year? Anything you miss most about Ramadan from before the coronavirus outbreak? I believe that a lot of people will relate to my answer! I miss connecting with the Muslim community. Ramadan brings ummah together and due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are unable to attend mosques and pray in congregation. That’s why I’m very grateful for my online community! I’m talking to sisters from all over the world every single day. This is how I manage to connect to the ummah this Ramadan. We are in it together, we’ll get through and come out stronger on the other side. Insha’Allah. Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for Muslims celebrating Ramadan while coping with the current pandemic? Try not to focus on the things you don’t have and can’t do this Ramadan, focus on practising gratitude and count your blessings instead. Allah is the greatest of planners and we should never forget that. We are going through this pandemic for a reason and we should always look at the bright side of things and find blessings in it.  Enjoy the time you have with your family, fast together, eat together, pray together, be together. Take it one day at a time and make every single one of them count. 
2. California, The United States (Candace)
My name is Candace, and I live in Southern California in an area called Orange County. It is an hour south of Los Angeles and an hour north of San Diego. I reverted to Islam a little over two years ago, so this is my second time fasting Ramadan, alhamdulillah. How is Ramadan like in your country? My first Ramadan was last year, and it was actually my first time that I went to the masjid and got to pray in congregation. I was very nervous and felt timid about going for the first time because I was worried I was going to do something wrong (it was kind of scary being the new person). I prayed Taraweeh all Ramadan, and I felt very comfortable and at ease about it by the time the month was over. I really loved feeling a sense of community and belonging, and it was great being able to pray alongside my fellow sisters!  This year is much different because of the fact that we have to social distance and quarantine at home. As a revert, I am always practising Islam alone (none of my friends or family is Muslim), so it really doesn’t feel much different from my everyday life as a single Muslim. I have been fasting in secret because my roommate doesn’t know I’m Muslim, so I spend the majority of the time, keeping quiet in my room and have been staying busy with my Deen! I’m focused on memorizing new surahs, learning the 99 names of Allah SWT, reading the Quran, and listening to Islamic lectures online. I am so thankful for Islam and for my second opportunity to fast Ramadan. Alhamdulillah!!  In the winter months, our days are pretty short. We typically pray Fajr around 7 am and pray the Maghreb around 5 pm. It feels like we are praying back to back during those months! We are now approaching longer days in Ramadan, so my suhoor time typically starts around 4 am, and I break my fast with iftar around 8.10 pm. The United States is pretty big, so the times range depending on your location.  The region I live in is sub-Mediterranean climate, so we always have very moderate weather Alhamdulillah. Our temperatures typically stay between 50-80 Fahrenheit year-round. I love it because there isn’t any extreme weather, making for beautiful landscape SubhanAllah and the ability to go outside all year. It’s obviously easier to fast in the winter because the days are much shorter, but the weather doesn’t really vary much, making every day almost like summer.  What's a typical day like for you in Ramadan? I pray my Taraweeh prayers in the last 1/3 of the night, read Quran for about an hour, and then have suhoor. Since it is quarantine right now in California, I am not working and have the ability to rest after Fajr.  We aren’t supposed to leave our houses unless it’s for something essential, such as going to the grocery store for food, so I spend most of my days at home. I focus on Islamic studies throughout the day, which keeps me busy and distracted while I am fasting. I am in the process of trying to learn Arabic so that I can in sha Allah be able to read and write the Quran one day. Until then, I read transliterations and learn my Quran recitations by audio. I’m really excited because I just memorized Surah Al-Naas and have begun reciting it during my prayers this Ramadan, alhamdulillah!  I also spend time using my social media platform to reach out to other revert sisters, so I spend a portion of my day communicating with other girls that are also fasting/praying in secret. I have a psychology degree and am trying to use my education and experience to provide help and support to girls who are struggling due to difficulties that arise from judgment/bullying that occur within our homes and communities. I keep praying that I can help those in need and be a friend to all of the sisters who feel alone or isolated during this time in sha Allah.  I break up my studies by doing home workouts (yoga) and talking to my family members, most of which live about 9 hours away from me. I go for a walk in my last hour before the Maghreb and admire all of the beautiful plants and flowers in my neighbourhood subhanAllah. I break my fast, make my dinner, and drink my coffee! I spend my evenings doing home workouts because I actually have the energy at night and want to make sure I am staying healthy while fasting and also practising social distancing.  What’s your biggest challenge/struggle during Ramadan and how do you overcome it? My biggest challenge is feeling like I can’t be transparent or open about being a Muslim based on the criticism and judgment that I have received over the last two years since I reverted. I received a lot of negative feedback about fasting last year, so I am more reserved about telling people this year. It can be difficult pretending like I’m not fasting, but Alhamdulillah, I know that with difficulty comes ease and Allah test us all in many ways. This year, Ramadan is celebrated under special circumstances such as mosque closures and stay-at-home measures. How has it affected the Ramadan activities in California?  Normally everyone gets together for iftar gatherings and then collectively go to the masjid to pray Taraweeh, but since we are social distancing, we cannot gather in groups. Families are staying home and fasting, praying, and eating in small groups. I feel like the absence of the congregation has made everyone grateful for one another, and we look forward to being able to get together at the masjids again one day in sha Allah.  Also, it’s pretty incredible because, for the first time in the history of The United States, they are announcing the Adhan on the television and in person at certain masjids subhanAllah. It is really wonderful to see videos online of the prayer calls that are being conducted in some of our large Muslim communities, and I am so happy for the brothers and sisters that get to experience it in person mashAllah! How are you spending your Ramadan differently this year? Anything you miss about Ramadan from before the coronavirus outbreak? Unfortunately, I don’t have a Muslim family, so I am always practising Islam alone alhamdulillah. I have made a few friends in my area, but we cannot see one another right now because of quarantine and social distancing. Instead, we are sending packages to each other, which has been fun and makes us feel a sense of community even though we haven’t left our homes! It also lifts our spirits because we have something to look forward to, and it gives us the opportunity to do charity and nice deeds upon one another.   Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for Muslims celebrating Ramadan while coping with the current pandemic?  I heard an Islamic lecture that said that we are very blessed to be amongst those who are fasting this Ramadan in such a special way. Allah is the best of planners, and He must have given us this opportunity for a reason. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing, so try to see it in a positive light. Although we aren’t praying in congregation and getting together in large groups, it is a great opportunity to become closer with our families. We can learn new surahs, we can have group prayer with our immediate families, and in sha Allah we can all get even closer to the Almighty during this time, free from all of the additional distractions that come from the outside world. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” I am praying that we all stay healthy, safe and that this hardship passes quickly in sha Allah. May all of our fasts and prayers be accepted, AMEEN. Ramadan Mubarak, much love to everyone from California!
3. Cairo, Egypt (Liyana Haniff)
 My name is Liyana Haniff. I am from Malaysia and I moved with my parents to Cairo, Egypt a few years ago. While my parents are working here, I am studying both Standard and Egyptian Arabic. I’ve lived in Egypt for a little over two years now and this is my third Ramadan here. 
How is Ramadan like in your country?
 Usually Ramadan in Egypt is more festive than Eid. Locals will start selling all kinds of nuts, raisins, apricots, prunes, dates, halwa (very sweet confection), etc in bulk right before Ramadan so that they can serve it to their family and friends when they visit each other after iftar and tarawih. It is normal for Egyptians to be active at night and they will stay awake until after suhoor and fajr prayer and then go to sleep. This is the only time of month when you will see Ramadan lanterns being sold. In Arabic, these lanterns are called fanous and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Just like in Malaysia, the locals will go to mosques to break their fast and pray tarawih together. As an act of charity, some Egyptians will cook and set up tables outside for the poor to come and break their fast. In Arabic, these charity tables are called  nuts, raisins, apricots, prunes, dates, halwa (very sweet confection), etc in bulk right before Ramadan so that they can serve it to their family and friends when they visit each other after iftar and tarawih. It is normal for Egyptians to be active at night and they will stay awake until after suhoor and fajr prayer and then go to sleep. This is the only time of month when you will see Ramadan lanterns being sold. In Arabic, these lanterns are called fanous and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Just like in Malaysia, the locals will go to mosques to break their fast and pray tarawih together. As an act of charity, some Egyptians will cook and set up tables outside for the poor to come and break their fast. In Arabic, these charity tables are called mawaad el rahman. During this time, people will also distribute shantoh which is a Ramadan bag full of dried food items such as rice, pasta, sugar and cooking oil to the poor. This year suhoor ends at 3:34 AM and iftar is at 6:34 PM so we fast for about 15 hours. For the past 2 years I’ve spent Ramadan here, the times for suhoor and iftar did not vary much as I have been fasting during the summer. My first time fasting in Egypt a few years ago was definitely a challenge as I was not used to the dry desert heat. It’s the kind of heat where even if you don’t do much, you’ll get a headache and feel really drained out. Thankfully, this year the weather is much better, the lowest being 16 degrees C at night and highest being 33 degrees C during the day. Usually during Ramadan, locals will not be outside as much and if they run a shop, etc sometimes they will open late in the afternoon. Some restaurants will be only be open for iftar until suhoor. What's a typical day like for you in Ramadan? During Ramadan, I try to focus all my efforts on ibadah (acts of worship). After waking up, I pray zohor and zikir for about half an hour. While waiting for Asar, I either study some Arabic, read the Quran, listen to podcasts or watch videos to learn more about Islam. After asar, I zikir for another half an hour. Then I help my mom prepare food for iftar. While cooking, we listen to the Quran or nasheed. After my parents and I break our fast with dates, we pray maghrib together. Then we eat a heavier meal and I spend another hour either studying some more Arabic, reading the Quran, listening to podcasts or watching videos about Islam. After this, my parents and I pray isha and tarawih together and wake up at 2:20 AM for suhoor. What’s your biggest challenge/struggle during Ramadan and how do you overcome it? My biggest challenge during Ramadan is my sleeping schedule. I have a hard time sleeping after tarawih prayer so sometimes I stay awake until suhoor and sleep after fajr prayer. During this time, I will watch videos or listen to podcasts about Islam or read the Quran while waiting for suhoor. So I will feel sleep deprived or sleepy during the day, but I overcome this by continuously reminding myself that Allah will reward me for my efforts, inshallah. This year, Ramadan is celebrated under special circumstances such as mosque closures and stay-at-home measures. How has it affected the Ramadan activities in Cairo? Egypt has implemented curfew which starts at 9 PM every night until 6 AM in the morning. This means that all shops, restaurants, etc must be closed and everyone must be home by 9 PM. Mosques have also been closed so everyone has been praying tarawih at home. How are you spending your Ramadan differently this year? And what do you miss most about Ramadan from before the coronavirus outbreak? This year, Ramadan is a little different as my parents and I are not able invite other Malaysians to our house for iftar and to pray tarawih together. Likewise, we are not able to go to their houses either. This is what I miss the most about Ramadan in Egypt - celebrating this month with the Malaysian community here. Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for Muslims celebrating Ramadan while coping with the current pandemic?
 I would just like to say to all Muslims, don’t feel pressured or stressed if you feel like you are not doing enough ibadah (acts of worship) this Ramadan. It is a difficult time for everyone - mentally, emotionally, physically and/or spiritually so do what feels right for you and your family. Allah knows what you are going through and will make everything easy for you, inshallah. Alhamdulilah, Ramadan is here when we need Him the most. Alhamdulilah, Allah is the best of planners. 
4. London, England (Nur Arisa Maryam)
I'm Nur Arisa Maryam, Japanese Muslimah revert born and raised in Tokyo and currently I'm based in London. How is Ramadan like in your country? Some people might think that we Muslims in the UK are not enjoying Ramadan since it's not an Islamic majority country. However, Alhamdulillah, London has a large Muslim population. Here, you will usually find Muslims, mosques and halal restaurants. Before Ramadan, British supermarkets make Ramadan sale pamphlets and send them to houses so that many people can get Halal food before Ramadan starts. So in the supermarkets, they have a section for Ramadan selling Halal food, dates and etc. There are also many mosques where you can have iftar and pray tarawih. Currently, the timings for suhoor and iftar is 3:45 to 20:30. Now Ramadan is closer to UK summer so fasting hours are long, but compared to last 2 years it's shorter. The summer Ramadan is quite difficult here because we don't have much time between Maghrib and Fajr, sometimes only 5 hours. During this time, many British Muslims will stay awake throughout the night doing ibadah and praying, as there is such little time to sleep. On the other hand, the winter Ramadan is very easy because Maghrib will be before 16:00. What's a typical day like for you in Ramadan? Attending my institute's Ramadan special classes, watching Islamic scholars' lectures, praying, reading Quran, reading Islamic books, resting and eating - haha What’s your biggest challenge/struggle during Ramadan and how do you overcome it?
This year my biggest challenge during Ramadan is finishing the Quran. I am trying to focus on the Quran and use my time for reading it and before reading, I make du'a to make it easy for me. It is also important to plan long fasts so that you're eating healthily and taking in enough water to last you during the fast length.  This year, Ramadan is celebrated under special circumstances such as mosque closures and stay-at-home measures. How has it affected the Ramadan activities in London?  We cannot go to mosques to have iftar and pray tarawih, unfortunately. So, we Muslims just stay home and do as much as ibadah in our houses. Some children make their own hand made mosques and decorate their own rooms to feel Ramadan atmosphere. How are you spending your Ramadan differently this year? And what do you miss most about Ramadan from before the coronavirus outbreak? I'm attending online Islamic classes which mosques and Islamic institutes provide for free, in order to use this time productively. I miss going to mosques to have iftar with sisters and pray together. I can really feel the importance of having sisterhood now. SubhanAllah. Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for Muslims celebrating Ramadan while coping with the current pandemic?
 We feel very sad for the current situation that we cannot go to mosques, meet sisters and do ibadah with them during Ramadan. But, we may not have the same level of free time as we have now in the future. Many people passed away whilest waiting for this Ramadan because of the virus. We should not be disappointed by this Ramadan, rather we should be grateful that we can experience a different Ramadan right now. Alhamdulillah. This is the test from Allah SWT to repent our sins, leave them and do good deeds. This is the time we seek knowledge and get closer to Allah SWT because we have much free time whilst staying at home. May Allah SWT forgive our sins and accept our good deeds, May Allah SWT give us hidayah and guide us to the right path. Ameen. 
5. Netherlands (Aslihan and Yakub)
We are Aslihan and Yakub from the Netherlands and have Turkish roots. After the World War ll, Netherlands was not in a good state and they asked other countries for help. That is the reason why our grandparents immigrated in the 70’s to the Netherlands. How is Ramadan like in your country? We Turks have a unique tradition during the Ramadan, it’s called Laylat al-Qadr, (‘Kadir gecesi’ in Turkish). This day is the 27’th night of Ramadan and we celebrate it by praying this night in the Mosque. This was the first night when Gabriel had the order from Allah to send the holy Quran to our prophet Muhammed sav. During the Ramadan we also pray the ‘Teravih’ after Isha (Teravih is usually prayed in the Mosque). Teravih consists of 30 rakat’s. In the Netherlands there is absolutely a time difference between summer and winter months. In the summer period we fast 18/19 hours a day and in winter this would be like 13 hours a day. Today we have suhoor was around 3 o’clock and iftar at 9.14 P.M. What's a typical day like for you in Ramadan? For us it is doing sahur and iftar with family and friends and of course praying together is a typical day in Ramadan. We also like to play games with families and friends to make these meetings special. Besides, before ramadan starts we try to make our ramadan goals. Unfortunately, this ramadan there is no teraweeh in the mosque so we challenge ourselves to pray at home and we are trying to eat more healty. What’s your biggest challenge/struggle during Ramadan and how do you overcome it? Our biggest challenge during Ramadan in the summer is getting out of bed 😊 Because the hours are short, our sleep rhythm also changes, but Alhamdulillah we have nothing to complain!  This year, Ramadan is celebrated under special circumstances such as mosque closures and stay-at-home measures. How has it affected the Ramadan activities in the Netherlands?  The Ramadan activities are all canceled because of the Corona virus. Mosques and meeting places like restaurants are all closed. How are you spending your Ramadan differently this year? And what do you miss most about Ramadan from before the coronavirus outbreak?
Because of the Coronavirus, we are cooking at home and this is a great challenge for Yakub because he doesn’t like cooking! 😆 We spend a lot of the times together and we help each other with preparing and cooking. We absolutely miss to share this blessed month with our families and friends. We are grown up in families where it is common sense that iftars are busy and you invite your loved ones. Since we are married we have iftar often at home with the 2 of us. I even miss my parents during iftar and Suhoor. Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for Muslims celebrating Ramadan while coping with the current pandemic? Our message to all our Muslim brothers and sisters is to keep calm and believe and trust in Allah. We have experienced many things together and this is also a difficult period that we will have behind us. Stay safe and do not give up your courage. 
6. Sarejevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Zulfo Hadziomerovic)
Assalamualaikum, my name is Zulfo Hadziomerovic. I'm 24 years old and I 'm from Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I work as a tour guide since 2015. In the past two years I have worked with Malaysian tourists and that is how I heard about your site! It's an honor to have the opportunity to introduce you to my city through the Ramadan period. How is Ramadan like in your country?
 The end of the daily fast is marked in Sarajevo by the firing of a cannon from the Yellow Fortress, an old fort above Bascarsija (Old town). After iftar the streets are recharged and the city returns to its hectic pace. There is a festive atmosphere at every turn: People enjoy food, drink, conversation and socializing. The harem of the mosques is illuminated, the mosque gates open, with a green Islamic flag with a star and a crescent hanging on the minarets. When total darkness ensues, the muezzins invite the faithful to the terawih- prayer, the last daily prayer. 
Ramadan sofra cannot be imagined without somun, a soft, chewy flatbread with different textures of crust and interior. Traditional somun is covered with little blisters from being baked in a brick oven at high heat. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a part of Europe and has a variation of standard clock time in the period between spring and autumn, during which clocks are advanced by one hour in order to make the most efficient use of seasonal daylight. The suhoor and iftar time vary much between seasons, so in winter period fasting time is about 11 hours but in summer it is about 18 hours. In the last 10 years holy month of Ramadan has entered summer time and much longer days become more challenging for the believers. What's a typical day like during Ramadan?  Very special scene during Ramadan days are long crowds in the local bakeries where you can see all generations waiting for somun. The presence of Ramadan spirit around every corner is best present in this situations, filled with calmness, patients and dignity, which is not usual except in Ramadan. The specific daily organization is present in Ramadan where intensive ibadat activities include fasting, salat, Qur’an recitation, duas, etc.  Among all Ramadan features the top atmosphere is the last ten days, where we all seek Allah mercy and searching for Leyletul-Kadr.  This year, Ramadan is celebrated under special circumstances such as mosque closures and stay-at-home measures. How has it affected the Ramadan activities in Sarajevo? For me personally, the absence of salats in mosques, collective iftars with family and friends and after teravih salat walks in the city center is, at best, unusual, but we must stay patient  and calm and seek protection from Allah. The Sarajevo with its multicultural character brings different worlds together and this gives it a special atmosphere. It is normal to see our neighbours, colleagues of different religion drink and eat in restaurants during fast. This can be a challenge for some but we must respect our society and try to give our best in improving it. How are you spending your Ramadan differently this year? And what do you miss most about Ramadan from before the coronavirus outbreak? This Ramadan we spend more time than ever with our closest family. For the first time since forever, I help my mother prepare iftar and I realized our collective teravih in homes have a special charm. I have more time to reflect on myself and my faith and I try my best to find comfort within my family and not focus on the negative sides of this pandemic. Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for Muslims celebrating Ramadan while coping with the current pandemic? In these times of struggle we all should remember and try to live by the words our Prophet pbuh said: “Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him. If he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him” (Muslim).
7. Düsseldorf, Germany (Meryem Chin)
I'm Meryem Chin, a Muslim revert from Singapore and I've been living in Japan and now am currently living in Düsseldorf, Germany. This is my 7th Ramadan, alhamdulillah. How is Ramadan like in your country? I had spent some of my previous Ramadans in Japan and now that I'm in one of the major cities in Germany where there are many  I'm in one of the major cities in Germany where there are many Turkish living here, I must say that I feel more of the Ramadan spirit floating in the air from our food, even though we're all confined to our homes right now, mosques are closed and I've not been out since March. In Turkey, they usually have Ramadan pide (bread) that is made only during Ramadan, so my husband bought one back a few days ago because he really missed it and it reminded him of home in Turkey! Suhoor is around 4am and Iftar is at 9pm, much longer as compared to Singapore. It's still not yet summer here, so I'd expect it'd be much longer if it was in June/July because the days get much longer here in summer! I've not been here for long enough to know [the timings for suhoor and iftar like year-round] but how we adapt sometimes is that we stay up until suhoor (that's what I did today), because the gap between isha'a (at 11pm) and Suhoor is only about 4 hours. The problem is that I still feel full from iftar, so I don't really have any room for suhoor. 😆 What's a typical day like for you in Ramadan?
 I usually work on TAKVA early in the morning (that's when the rest of the world is working back home too, in Singapore!), sometimes in the early afternoon. As I have a toddler, I cook lunch for her and then we'll both sit down for a zoom call with our friends back in Singapore to keep check on each other's Ramadan, and then I'll spend time with my daughter and try to get a little Qur'an reading in between until I have to prepare Iftar. After that it's trying to get my daughter to sleep (that depends on her mood, really!) so it'd be around 11-12pm when I'm able to spend some time by myself to catch up with maybe a video or two from Bayyinah tv, or improve my (non-existent) Arabic understanding with the Quranic app. What’s your biggest challenge/struggle during Ramadan and how do you overcome it? My biggest challenge is consistency (istiqomah), because everyday is just so different for me and I can be so tired one day and raring to go the next. But my friends back home really help keep me in check, which I'm so grateful for! Alhamdulillah!  This year, Ramadan is celebrated under special circumstances such as mosque closures and stay-at-home measures. How has it affected the Ramadan activities in Düsseldorf? As we have usually spent previous Ramadans in Japan away from a Muslim community, and while I was in Singapore I usually would spend Ramadan alone, frankly, I never really felt the feeling of being near to a community or masjid at all, except some times in Japan where we would head to the Tokyo Camii for iftar during the weekend. This time though, it was different because since everyone was facing the same kind of situation that I was facing every year (i.e. at home and not near a community), one of my dear sisters in Islam actually initiated a group of "Ramadan Buddies" where we would check in on each other, and revise the teachings of our late Ustaz, al-Marhum Ustaz Zhulkeflee bin Haji Ismail. I actually felt more motivated this Ramadan because of this initiation, alhamdulillah! Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for Muslims celebrating Ramadan while coping with the current pandemic? I'd advise what works for me- keep a close group of friends who can keep you motivated everyday. Be disciplined and set a time to meet, and keep to it no matter if you're feeling lazy or not! Also, having one goal for Ramadan would do. No need to set up an entire list if you think you can't accomplish it- especially for slow learners like me, I'd rather have one goal that I can successfully attain by the end of this Ramadan, and build up from that inshaAllah. 
8. Bangkok, Thailand (Rizki Syawalia Siregar)
How is Ramadan like in your country? Usually we have iftar together with friends from elementary school-university. Tadarus/reciting Al-Qur'an together in each mosque, and local people will provide for iftar and tadarus snacks in mosque. And around 2-3 am, teens will wake up the people in this area by saying "sahur sahur" and it's very loud. What's a typical day like for you in Ramadan? I still do daily activities. When I was in school, we still go to school in Ramadan for 2 weeks (but it depends on the school, my school was Islamic school). When I was in college, sometimes we still have learning and studying during ramadan. Last year, I still went to work but they reduce the office hours from 8.30 am - 16.30 pm (normally 8.00 am - 17.30 pm) What’s your biggest challenge/struggle during Ramadan and how do you overcome it? I always feel sleepy during fast, so I will do some activities to distract my sleepiness. This year, Ramadan is celebrated under special circumstances such as mosque closures and stay-at-home measures. How has it affected the Ramadan activities in Bangkok? In Bangkok every mosque is closed and we must pray at home. But, the goverment made the new announcement that from this week they allow to do jumat prayer in mosque but under some regulation, but no newest information about tarawih and Ied fitr. How are you spending your Ramadan differently this year? And what do you miss most about Ramadan from before the coronavirus outbreak? I live alone in my apartment and I need to prepare everything by myself. I don't cook regularly, sometimes I buy from the store for sahur and iftar. I miss having iftar together with friends, tarawih in mosque, and going home to spend Ramadan with my family 🙁 Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for Muslims celebrating Ramadan while coping with the current pandemic? Enjoy the time that you have during this time, you are so lucky if you are at home with your family during this outbreak. For people who live far away from home, it doesn't matter, try to look for the positive things by this outbreak. If you are missing your family and friends, you can call conferences with them. If you still have a place to sleep, you have money to buy some food, you have salary it means you are privileged and you are blessed. Many people must face the problem because of the pandemic, don't forget to be grateful for everything you have and keep sharing with people around you 🙂 We hope you've enjoyed reading this round-up of Ramadan celebrations from around the world. If you'd like to read more stories on Ramadan experiences, then check out our articles right here! Here's wishing everyone the best for the remaining days of Ramadan 🤗