Lockdown Eid: ‘Isn’t it time to reflect?’

By Al Qalam Reporter

So, how will you be spending your Eid under lockdown?

That’s the question Al Qalam posed to several personalities this week,

Dr Faisal Suleman, Chairman of the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) asked: “What is Eid without a bit of a feast, a feast which is shared by friends and family? This year, COVID-19 has laid waste to those plans. We will now have to learn how to perform the Eid Salaah in the confines of our home and with our immediate families’, however the spirit and the joy of the mass Eidgah, the emotional duas of the Imam, will be sorely missed.

“Similarly having Eid alone or just confined to the home resonates with people who are going through the empty nest syndrome, where children live far away and are unable to join their parents, especially during the lockdown rules. This Eid will feel like that – an empty nest Eid breakfast, lunch and probably a very light snack for supper. Notwithstanding this, let us do our best and use this Eid to reflect within our solace, pray for peace, pray for the resurrection of the Ummah and that Allah (SWT) helps us to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and take whatever reflective benefit the pandemic has had on us – and make it last.

He said COVID-19 should be making us reflect on our priorities, on our materialism and consumerism.

“COVID 19 has a long way to go and should make us reassess some of the excesses we have indulged in, and maybe to trim our lives to become more conscious of Almighty God, the environment in particular, and the development of good habits morally and socially – and reflect on our priorities in life.

Durban attorney, Saber Jazbhay who specializes in constitutional law, told Al Qalam that Eid-al-Fitr will feel different this year. “So it’s literally going to be a virtual celebration courtesy of Skype, Whatsapp, Instagram and other online portals.

“So, people ask me: how am I going to spend Eid-al-Fitr on 1st Shawwal 1441? This is going to be a painfully enforced separation of a sacred celebration, no Eid Gah, no visits to families, no communal meals with the wider expanded Jazbhay family, no visits to loved ones – even 5km away – and no exchange of gifts.

“In Ramadan, I managed to hold a virtual family zikr which included my beloved daughter Khatija who is employed and living in Cape Town. With inter-provincial travel prohibited, this is the first time she will be unable to join us.”

“My Eid Day celebration will be preceded by early morning salaah, with my wife, son, daughter-in -law Hawabibi, and granddaughter Safiyyah. Thereafter, it will be a brunch with my extended family via skype with the usual greetings etc.

Disappointed

Meanwhile, Mufti Moosagie of Radio Islam said: “We usually spend our Eids in Port Elizabeth where my family resides. This year I will be making Eid in Lenasia, as we are not able to travel. My kids are disappointed that they will not be spending Eid with their cousins in PE. But nevertheless they are looking forward to spending Eid with their maternal family on this side. Alhamdulillah, that we have family both sides and that we live in a house with the extended family so inshaAllah there will be plenty of joy and laughter.”

Sheikh Rafeek Hassen, Founder & director of Islamic Inter Faith Research Institute (iiFRi) said: “Eid means a celebration, a day of rejoicing after the month long fast. Eid is the Eid Salah /Eid Gah, Eid is to eat with and meet family and friends. What is a house without a roof and doors? What is Eid without these elements of Eid? Did we ever imagine that such a day will come when there will be no Eid Salah /Gah? Did we ever sit back and ponder when it was said: “One day the Hajj will stop” how will this happen? Or will it ever happen?

“We were too busy racing and chasing our own daily bread to notice those around us who have no bread? We were too busy building our own homes and family to see how others were thrown out of their homes, separated from their families and had their lives destroyed.

“Yes we did remember them by way of a dua – but never really shared their pain and suffering. Perhaps we needed an Eid under lockdown to give us a knockdown from our inflated comfort zones to know what it feels like.

“Not only do we feel the pain of being separated from our families and friends who are living – but even those that have journeyed on to the hereafter cannot be visited by their gravesides on this auspicious Eid day.

“Yes, indeed an Eid under lockdown as never imagined but knowing that Allah our Lord and Creator is not separated from us. “He is closer to us than our jugular vein”

So in this very rare and challenging time of Eid we hear and take comfort and solace in His Words: “Do not despair of My Mercy”, “Call upon me and I will answer you.”

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