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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Prayers at home, no gatherings: Ramadan starts on a solemn note

Residents in Pune describe their upcoming Ramadan celebrations amid the lockdown.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Updated: April 24, 2020 8:10:02 am
Several local community NGOs have reached out during Ramadan.

As the days of the holy month of Ramadan usually coincide with her children’s summer vacations, Arshi Khan was planning to celebrate this year’s Ramadan and Eid with her parents and in-laws, who live in Odisha. But now, amid the nationwide lockdown, her family will be celebrating Ramadan at home.

“This is the time we look forward to every year, when we all come together as a community. It will be different this year as we will not be able to congregate for prayers, iftaar, sehri and other customs. Men will not be able to go out for the tarawih, the communal prayer during Ramadan. We will break our rozas and do our prayers together in our home, as this is what will keep us safe now,” said Khan.

She also said that with everything shut, small businesses will be the most affected as most of them saw brisk sales during the holy month. “In the days before Eid, we go shopping every weekend, especially for children. This is the time most Muslims as well as non-Muslims come out of their houses to experience the festival, especially the cuisine. The food is something that everyone will miss,” she said.

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Given the circumstances, one should spend more time reading the Quran and strengthening their holy bond with Allah, said Yasmeen Shaikh. “While the men went out to the masjids for the evening prayers, we women formed smaller groups and recited the thirty juz (sections), over the thirty days of Ramadan. As we will not be able to gather this year, we decided to record our recitation of Quran on audio or video and share it among our groups…,” she said.

Shaikh also said that while the elders are sceptical of the situation as they have never experienced something like this before, they are taking the opportunity to teach the children more about the Quran.

 

“We are solemn this Ramadan. It is during Ramadan when the essence of brotherhood is truly felt. This Ramadan is difficult for us as we do not have help to prepare the extravagant meals that are part of the festival. But it is especially hard on people who look forward to the Ramadan feast served in the evenings,” said Munira Fakar Sabuwala.

Several local community NGOs have reached out during Ramadan. “So far, we have distributed grains, fruits and other requirements for a month to 2,000 families. During Ramadan, we will try to also distribute khajoor (dates), milk and bananas. We hope that with our prayers, the pandemic ends within the holy month,” said Dr. Alsaba Shaikh.

Liyakat Khan said the lockdown has encouraged the community to perform more charitable work and help those in need. “The lockdown is a blessing in disguise. While I volunteered a lot to help others during Ramadan in past years, this time I will get to spend more time with my family,” he said.

He also said that one of the customs of having a Hafiz, who memorises and orates the Quran at large gatherings, will not be conducted this year. “We have given them the muafsa as we do every year as a gesture of kindness. We have also appealed that no Hafiz is asked to recite at family gatherings,” he said.

Khan added that they will request local authorities to allow them to broadcast these instructions through loudspeakers after the prayer call (azaan), and also grant them a window of one hour in the evening to buy the necessities for iftaar.

Appealing youngsters to stay home and requesting people not to go to mosques for prayers, Maulana Nizamuddin Fakhruddin said people should spend more time reading the Quran, be diligent about their Roza, refrain from crowding if they go out to buy things for iftari, and to keep praying.

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