How Hasan Minhaj's faith has helped him face the challenges of the pandemic

The "Patriot Act" host is currently observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan while quarantined with his family.
13th Annual Stand Up For Heroes
Minhaj is quarantined with his wife and two children.John Lamparski / Getty Images

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Shane Lou

Life in quarantine has Hasan Minhaj feeling thankful for what he has in his life.

“If this global pandemic has taught my family anything, it’s to be grateful for the basics that we often take for granted: food, shelter, water, health and safety,” the comedian and “Patriot Act” host told TODAY in an email interview.

Family and gratitude have been two important themes for Minhaj as he observes the Muslim holy month of Ramadan while sheltering at home with his wife, Beena Patel, and their two children, including their newborn son. He opened up to TODAY about the role his faith has played in his life during the pandemic.

How faith has helped him face the challenges of the pandemic:

“Right now Muslims around the world are celebrating Ramadan, a holy month of fasting where individuals abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset. But Ramadan is so much more than just daytime dietary restrictions. For me, it’s a time for family, personal reflection, charity, gratitude and learning to control one’s lower self.

“If this global pandemic has taught my family anything, it’s to be grateful for the basics that we often take for granted: food, shelter, water, health and safety. Boredom and cabin fever are a blessing compared to what people around the world are going through. Ramadan gives us an opportunity to give charity (Zakat) and help those who need it most right now.”

How he stays connected with his faith:

“I’ve been fasting here at home, but it’s tough with a 2-year-old daughter and newborn. One of the things that I miss most is community. Being around loved ones, family members and friends during the month. Whether it’s Friday prayer (Jummah) or the night prayers (Taraweeh), I miss that opportunity to feel connected to a community.”

How he plans to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, later this month:

“At the end of the month we hope to celebrate Eid, but we will have to do it at home. Normally you’re supposed to be around family members and friends, but I guess we’ll all be connecting and celebrating through Zoom. My wife bought a baby kurta for our newborn son so he’ll still get dressed in traditional clothing.”

A quote that provides him with comfort and hope:

“Angela Duckworth has this great book called ‘Grit’ — it’s about persevering and pushing through during difficult times. One of the things that she writes about that really stuck with me is to remember that difficult, arduous moments aren’t always permanent or pervasive.”

What he would say to those who might be struggling to find hope at this time:

“Please only read the news once a day. As someone who is immersed in it always, it’s not worth it. It’s going to warp your brain.”