This year’s Ramadan has certainly been different for Bahrainis and Muslims across the world. With the majority of the world population being in lockdown or in curfew, Ramadan traditions had to be changed in a way to keep everyone safe while facing the threats of COVID19. Another major controversy was this year’s TV shows that took a different turn between politics and social issues. Here’s a look at how Bahrainis spent their Ramadan this year and how different it felt.

 

“Some sense of normality”

“We had no family gatherings or Iftar and suhoor gathering where friends come together, it felt very different, something was missing as Ramadan is traditionally all about reaching out to people” Hamad 28, from Manama 

“The best thing is that there was no curfew in Bahrain. We could still grab a coffee, drive around and feel some sense of normality. I believe this kept most people stable and sane during this period, being deprived of the joys of Ramadan yet being able to breathe some air, I’m thankful for that” Fatima 32, from Saar

“Shops were closed for two weeks then back open, so things felt quiet fine. It wasn’t as bad as people would expect it to be, I think the government played it smart by not imposing a curfew or a lockdown, this would have affected people very badly in such a small country” Marwa 34, from Muharraq

 

“…as long as everyone is safe and sound

“The closing down of mosques and the complete absence of Ramadan evening prayers was the most depressing part of this year’s holy month. People continued to pray inside their homes, however the feeling of being inside a mosque and praying with a large crowd is a great part of Muslim heritage that were deprived of this year due to the coronavirus” Abdullah 38, from Riffa

“I am grateful that the country is safe, most Bahrainis have been evacuated from other countries and have spent Ramadan with their families. It doesn’t matter whether we are entertained or can go to the mosque on daily basis as long as everyone is safe and sound” Zainab 27, from Isa Town 

 

Ramadan TV & entertainment

“Since most of our time is spent at home as we are even working remotely from home, Ramadan television shows were our main source of entertainment this year. Even shows had a different vibe this year as one “Exit 7” produced by MBC stopped airing before the end of Ramadan as shooting had stopped due to the corona virus” Ahmed 32, from Budaiya

“MBC [the Middle East Broadcast Channel] takes the lead in drawing attention this year by airing the television series “Om Harroun” which was accused by many as an attempt at normalisation with the zionists. The series highlights the co-existence among Muslims, Jews and Christians before the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and troubles that came after” Manal 33, from Muharraq

“Om Harroun reflects the reality of some of the Gulf societies including Bahrain. It’s a commendable show that shows how politics can divide people and the fact that Jews are a part of this region, a fact that is denied by some other countries in the region but not Bahrain… It’s a very good show inspired by the story of “Um Jan” a very popular Jewish midwife who lived in Bahrain in the mid-20th century. It is a reflection of the stories we hear from our parents and grandparents about the neighbourhoods of Manama. The writers of the show are Bahraini and I’m truly proud of that” Salman 30, from Riffa

“I’m quite surprised by the new style of Arab drama which actually kept me at home and entertained. MBC’s “Exit 7” even dropped a hint about LGBTQ rights in one of its episodes as part of a conversation going on between the main character, a traditional man who is aggressive and mocking the LGBTQ community and his daughter who was openly defending their rights. This was surprising and interesting” Mariam 32, from Saar

“MBC is revolutionising the media industry in the region and this is what youth expect and want, an open mind that’s open to the world and new ideas. Realistically speaking we all watch Netflix and the younger generation do so too, hence when sensitive issues are raised in Arab shows we shouldn’t take them sensitively while we accept watching western shows that are even more open. Ramadan is the best time for the media industry to influence youth positively and especially this year as more people have spent time at home” Ali 26, from Manama 

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