In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, Muslims have had to find other ways to observe the spirit of Ramadan without the usual community gatherings such as the breaking of the fast. In particular, Muslims are no longer able to gather in mosques and homes to breakfasts with families and the community at large. In order to share the spirit of Iftar in a safe way, Muslims have taken it upon themselves to deliver iftar meals in order to the charitable spirit of Ramadan with the community and maintain a sense of community despite not being able to gather in-person. For example, several Muslim communities in Minnesota have taken it upon themselves to provide food to the broader community in a way that concurs with the social distancing guidelines brought upon by the Coronavirus.
In particular, the community is providing Iftar boxes to-go when they would normally have open communal gatherings to break the fast. According to The Star Tribune,“the iftar boxes offered at Columbia Heights are unusual because they are free drive-up meals, every night of Ramadan, and are the first project of Shabaz Hussain Charities.” The governor of Minnesota Tim Walz has issued several executive orders to enforce social distancing requirements including the banning of large gatherings. This was part of a project called Khidma meaning service started by professional members of the Muslim community.
Furthermore, “By the end of the month, it will have delivered nearly 1,000 meals on weekend deliveries to both Muslim and non-Muslim residents, said Nabi Naser, social service coordinator for Building Blocks.” The deliveries included “naan flatbread, sweet and sour chicken, Mongolian beef, rice and vegetables.” Volunteers meet daily at 5:30 to prepare the meals wearing masks and gloves to decrease risk to those receiving meals and themselves.
According to Shariq Siddiqui: “ Muslims in the U.S. have shown their resourcefulness in finding new ways of giving during the coronavirus-hit Ramadan. Many of the faith’s nonprofits may need to do likewise to keep afloat during the hard economic times to come.”