There are numerous stories of human endurance in fight against unpleasant situations but the current circumstances caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic have come to test us all in new ways.
The spirit of kindness and generosity during Ramadan helps some people in strengthening faith, and ward off negativity. Fasting itself can boost human endurance and inculcate patience.
French expatriate Pierre Daniel is a strong athlete and sportsman who has gained fame in Qatar by making a world record for the fastest crossing of the country from north to south on foot. He recently shared his views on the current health crisis and experience of Ramadan in Qatar with Community.
Talking about how as an active outgoing person he has been dealing with the new situation, Pierre said: “I work for the marketing department of the Aspire Zone Foundation. I have been living in Doha with my family for more than 11 years.
“We have been coping with the current situation with patience. I am a great outdoor sports aficionado. Reducing the amount of time I spend outside practising sports and training with friends or travelling to some adventure is what probably I miss the most. But we all have to face this situation with philosophy of positive thinking. Beating ourselves up with negative thoughts is pointless and makes it only harder. So, why not focus on the positive and make the most of the situation.
“For the past weeks, we have all been staying indoor, juggling between home schooling for our three kids and working from home. Fortunately, Aspire has immediately set up many digitals tools to enable us to carry on working and we are all trying to conduct business as usual.”
The athlete sees social distancing norm as an opportunity to realise the value of social interactions. “I believe social distancing and this unfortunate global situation are factors that may help us realise the value of social interactions and how much we need the others for our personal development. It brings us back to the universality of humanity. All of us are affected by a disease that can infect any one of us. It has managed to destabilise our global economy, and so we all equally need social interactions.”
As for Ramadan, Pierre has consistently been fasting in solidarity with his Muslim friends in Qatar. “For the past decade, I have been sharing the spirit of Ramadan with the Muslim community here in Qatar. I have been consistently fasting in solidarity with my Muslim friends. It first started when we just moved to Qatar. I very quickly had a lot of Muslim friends and when Ramadan came I was very eager to experience it fully with them as part of my thirst of discovering in depth the local culture and also for the reason that it gathers many values I respect, such as the spirit of communion and charity as well as self-discipline, self-control and endurance in scarcity. Not to mention the physical and spiritual benefits of fasting which I recently applied to my lifestyle when I started to fast for a full day twice a week every Monday and Thursday.”
The French athlete sees the spirit of self-love and love for humanity in Ramadan. “I believe that regardless of our application of a dogma or pursuit of spirituality in the form of our interaction with our self and with others, the way we appreciate and experience everything during the holy month is a demonstration of the universality of love. It includes self-love, love to others, love of life, love of working, creating and caring. It is a mindset that can be reached by all and that is very much present in the Muslim community during the holy month of Ramadan.”
Pierre added: “This Ramadan is a bit special because people cannot meet and share this moment of communion. However, the mindset is still present, and friends and families try to stay close nonetheless using all the tools available. I have many digital meetings with my friends where we break the fast together and some of them even sent food to my home as a nice gift.
“I believe that with positivity and discipline we will prevail and adapt to and hopefully get back to a more normal life soon.”
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