SA Muslims look online to stay connected during Ramadan
The month of Ramadan is set to begin on Friday evening in SA — but with the country under lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Muslims are preparing to celebrate a little differently this year.
Mosques around SA are normally a hive of activity during the month of Ramadan, which marks the “heightened spirituality for Muslims”, said Abdul Khaliq Allie, the first deputy president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC).
“Traditionally, mosques resound with evening prayers, known as taraweegh and zikrurullah,” he said.
“Normally, throngs of people across the globe make their way to the mosque for their five daily prayers, as well as during the evening.”
But this year it is Ramadan “like never before”, he said.
“SA Muslims will join millions of Muslims across the globe under unique and unchartered circumstances. With lockdown regulations in place, a novel system is being put in place to ensure that the spirit of Ramadan is enhanced in these most challenging times,” said Allie.
He said virtual platforms have come in handy during lockdown.
“This in itself is a great blessing. Each home is enlivened and families are planning their personal programme to heighten the spirit of Ramadan,” he said.
“Social media platforms are abuzz with advice and pointers of how to make the best of this Ramadan with in our homes.
“The MJC and other leading institutions are facilitating programmes for the community, whilst imams in their localities are guiding their constituencies towards making the best of Ramadan.
“Social media and online programmes will most certainly be an effective means to inspire the community.”
Allie said the spirit of Ramadan and the goodwill associated with it would not be dampened by social distancing, and they would find innovative ways to give to the poor.
“It is a period in which every Muslim aspires towards gaining closeness to the almighty Allah,” he said.
“The fasting during the day, the night prayers, the listening to the melodious recitation of the glorious Koran, the upholding of the cultural practices through the exchange of boeka treats among neighbours before breaking fast. Lastly, the intensive outreach to the underprivileged and poor, which is an integral part of this auspicious month.
“The month of Ramadan affords us a further opportunity to intensify in prayers for all citizens of the world and in our beautiful country for all our fellow South Africans.
“Muslims in SA will adhere to lockdown regulations,” added Allie.
South African Muslims are of course not alone: 1.8-billion fellow Muslims across the world are facing the same predicament as countries struggle to contain the pandemic.
The holy sites of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia are reportedly under curfew. The al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City are also reportedly closed.