Eid 2020: 'Every house is a mosque,' say Community leaders

Updated: May 25, 2020, 07:39 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Community leaders urge people to offer Eid namaz in their homes; to the suggestion of letting people in with PPEs, guardian minister of Mumbai says use that money instead to give zakat or Eidi

A file picture of people offering namaz on Bakri Eid at Bandra. This year they have been urged to do so at home. Pic/Suresh Karkera
A file picture of people offering namaz on Bakri Eid at Bandra. This year they have been urged to do so at home. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr will be low key as India continues to grapple with the novel Coronavirus. The festival, traditionally celebrated by community members coming together to pray in large numbers at the mosque, followed by a feast with relatives and friends, will instead see families pray within the confines of their own homes and spend time indoors.

Speaking to mid-day, Guardian Minister of Mumbai City, Aslam Shaikh, said that Eid will break from the traditional celebrations. "People will have to remain inside their houses and celebrate as they definitely cannot step out and meet people, nor can people be allowed to come over. People pray at mosques on Eid, and then meet close friends, relatives and family members, but this year, all wishes will have to be conveyed over the phone." He added, "For those requesting that people should be allowed to wear PPE and go to the mosques and pray, I would urge to use the money to give as zakat or Eidi since this is the time that people need it the most."

Amaan Ali Shaikh, student
Amaan Ali Shaikh, student

Aslam Rais Qureshi, 50, president of Noori Masjid, said, "We have been announcing on the mike for the past three days that people should offer namaz on Eid solely at their homes. It's a drastic change—to go from praying together in the mosque - to being in our own homes and not getting to meet relatives, elders and friends. We will miss all the things that we do on this day, ranging from praying and eating together, to calling people home and feeding them sewai." He also said that the idea of community members wearing PPEs and coming to pray the mosque was not a feasible one since the numbers were too large, and it would take too much time, money and effort to carry out the task. He said, "If this had to be done, we could have done it on the first day of the lockdown. It is not possible. Instead, look at it this way: now every house is a mosque."

Empathising with others
The lockdown also gave a different perspective on Ramzan to youngsters. Some of them realised how difficult it has been for many people to just survive in the lockdown.

Aadil Vora, mixed martial arts instructor
Aadil Vora, mixed martial arts instructor

"To be honest, when Ramzan started, I was pretty happy because I thought it would be an easier experience for me, but turns out staying at home also has its demerits," said Amaan Ali Shaikh, a student. "When you are not doing anything, time passes way slowly. So, to a person who's fasting, that's like counting the seconds till you get to eat and drink water. This year was very hot. So, I am grateful that we could stay at home because it was way more comfortable, but it also brings to mind all the people who can't afford housing, or shelter, or air conditioning. The one big difference this year was that most restaurants are shut because of the lockdown. Mohammad Ali Road being shut is sad not only because we don't get to eat there, but also because that was their livelihood."

Another student, Arva Kankroliwala, 20, said Ramzan in lockdown was much easier for her. "When there's no quarantine you have to go to work, you have college and you have to wake up at 4 am, eat, then stay awake through the morning prayer, then go to work at 8 am. You work for eight hours, then when you come back, you pray again and eat," she said. "This year's Ramzan was much healthier because nobody really ate outside. Everything was home cooked, which is healthier. And this Ramzan also made us think about how difficult it is for those out there who are in lockdown and suffering with just one meal a day."

Arva Kankroliwala, student
Arva Kankroliwala, student

'People don't have food, water...'
Aadil Vora, 22, a mixed martial arts instructor, said he had a privileged Ramzan, which also made him empathise with the less privileged. "Midway, I lost the urge to fast, but then I did a bit of reading. Ramzan means not taking our privileges for granted and to keep the less privileged in mind – to try and go through what they go through," he said. "There are people out there who don't have water, food and shelter, and we still have all of that. The migrants can't even go home."

'Hope we don't see one like this again'
Faraz Haindaday, 21, a food blogger, said, "This year we've been able to see the true meaning of Ramzan because we've seen a lot of hardships among the lower-class communities. So many people are not able to feed themselves. Contributing to them hasn't been easy because we are not able to step out of our homes and they are not able to come collect zaqat. This year I've only seen a handful of people coming to collect their zaqat.In the food scenario, what really shows the true light of Ramzan is Mohammad Ali Road, Mahim, Crawford market, all the bazaars which are filled with people. You get to smell kebabs, malpuas and fernis, but this year we've all been trying to make these at home. This Ramzan has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I think, I hope, we won't see one like this again. For people who have had the luxury of staying at home, Ramzan has been quite easy for them. They don't have to go out in the sun or have meetings or get really tired. For those who couldn't afford such privileges, it's been very difficult. This year, I've able to see the spirit of Ramzan more than ever because before, everything was a show business. You would see politicians and builders and other rich people giving out stuff just for show. But this year those who have the capacity have really gone out of their way to help people."

Inputs by Kshamaya Daniel

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