Creating a Sustainable Ramadan during a Pandemic

Roswell Community Masjid (RCM) aims to function as a center for community development, facilitate access to authentic Islamic knowledge in a family-friendly environment while empowering the youth to positively impact society.  Shaheen Bharde and the RCM Green Team reflect on greening Ramadan in the midst of a pandemic. 

The RCM Green Team is an effort founded by one of our youth, Ibrahim Merchant, who brought together RCM and Uplift Youth to make this initiative a much-needed reality. Our goal is to follow the 4 R’s. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE and RETHINK during Ramadan and in the long term.

“Now, behold! Your Lord said to the angels: I am placing upon the earth a human successor to steward it” (Al Baqarah 2:30)

Ramadan is the busiest and most exciting month at RCM, and this year, when COVID-19 happened, we were very disappointed that we would not be able to meet every night at the masjid to pray together, spend weekends opening our fast together, and hanging out at night with our friends.

However, we did not let that get the better of us, we went into virtual mode almost immediately. All our programming was moved online

  • We enhanced our website and now upload all our programming to it so the community can benefit on their own schedule.
  • Our Imam does virtual Q&A’s on Instagram about what practices are being kept even with the shift in observances, possibly, that relate to earth care.
  • Our Friday sermons are now online on Facebook.
  • We started our own podcast to reach as many people as we can.
  • We do our weekend family spiritual lectures on live stream to Facebook and YouTube.
  • We started the Ramadan good deed program for kids where we sent them a list of activities they can do and record their good deeds. At the end of Ramadan, we will put together a slideshow of pictures and have a virtual celebration.
  • Our service club has been preparing lunch bags to bridge the gap in school lunches and delivering hot food to first responders, thanking them for their service.
  • Our Art competition is also virtual, where everyone can take pictures and send us what they made.
  • Our nightly prayers are live, and we wake up at 3:30am to perform them.
  • We are organizing a virtual henna workshop and giving henna to everyone so Eid can be festive.
  • Lastly, to get in the Eid spirit, we are organizing a drive-thru portrait event, where families will come in their cars and stop by the masjid where a professional photographer will take a picture of them… What a lovely way to remember this COVID-19 Ramadan and Eid.

Once we are back to the masjid, we will continue our sustainability efforts by researching and implementing ways to reduce waste during and after Ramadan, and creating measuring tools to hold ourselves accountable on water usage, electricity usage, and waste. We will recruit volunteers and implement tools to help us become greener.

This Ramadan has been different but at the same time given us time to stop, reflect, and make better decisions. We have spent quality time with our families, and this can only lead to a greener, wiser future.