By Kaelanne Jordan
Traditionally, Muslims around the world turn out to attend Eid prayers at their local masjids (a Muslim house of worship).
But with many countries still under COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Eid was celebrated “differently” for many Muslims.
As the start of the festival depends on the sighting of the new moon, the first day of Eid varies between countries.
However, locally, the 30-day fast for Ramadan began Friday, April 24 and culminated Saturday, May 23.
Catholic News spoke to a few Muslims on how they observed this year’s fast in light of the COVID-19 restrictions and what fasting during this time of lockdown taught them.
For Akeisha Francois, this year taught her, and by extension all Muslims not to take the simple things for granted. Most times, she explained, Muslims won’t pray their daily Salaah (a prayer) in the masjids but during this time of lockdown, they would have given all they had to pray one Salaah at the masjid. She commented that she saw a Facebook post from a Muslim Sister stating that she “revert[ed]” and this Ramadan was “hard” for her because her family is non-Muslim.
“The fact that we weren’t allowed in the masjids was sad for her because being there gave her a sense of acceptance and appreciation,” Francois explained.
“Being home this Ramadan was hard for me also because of the fact that it’s just me alone. Yes, I have Muslim siblings and cousins but my siblings are not around at the moment…” she said.
Umm Umarah, married, agreed that this Ramadan was “different” in the sense that Muslims were unable to go to their masjids for Iftar (to break the evening fast).
“And all these things most Muslims look forward to…to get away from the cooking and meet new people…this year was challenging because we couldn’t do none of that. And on top of that we couldn’t do our Taraweeh prayer which is important,” she told Catholic News via phone.
Taraweeh is the night prayer that is usually prayed at the masjids after Isha Salaah prayer. Taraweeh also means rest and relaxation.
On how she observed her fast, Umarah explained that she tuned into prayers that were livestreamed from the masjids. There was, however, a “plus” for Umarah. It encouraged families to spend more time together.
“…it wasn’t much of a bad thing,” she said.
Catholic News contacted Brother Noble Khan for comment but he was unavailable. His wife, Maimoon Khan, who was busy in the kitchen gave her comments on his behalf. She shared that the she was “hurt” by the initial restrictions of COVID-19. Ramadan, she outlined, is a time to get together.
“It’s a special time because in the afternoon we meet and different sisters and brothers will get together at the masjid,” she said.
She shared that the TML St Joseph masjid has a big hall which caters to 300 persons for Iftar. “And then we treat them nice. Nice food and dessert…they look forward to that… And you meet brothers and sisters who you didn’t meet for the year. It brings joy,” Mrs Khan said.
So, what’s on for the menu for Eid? Roti! Mrs Khan shared. “Chicken, goat, duck, shrimp…”
She expects a small gathering of family to visit during the day.
It is haram (forbidden) to fast on Eid.
Catholic News extends Eid Greetings to the entire Muslim community!