As the case of COVID-19 pandemic increases and nationwide lockdown enforced by the government to combat the virus, Nepali Muslim community has adjusted their most important festival of the year, Ramadan within houses.
Over 70 COVID-19 patients in Nepal belong to the Muslim community, especially those residing in mosques, the government, in coordination with the local levels, has restricted human movement in mosque areas all across Nepal with strict monitoring. The Kathmandu-based Jame Masjid has also issued a notice requesting people to not visit the mosque for prayer this year.
Extending best wishes of Ramadan month, Samim Miya Ansari, Chairman of Nepal Muslim Commission said, "As COVID-19 cases have been escalating in Nepal, the commission has time and again been requesting the Muslim community to not visit mosques for reciting Namaz."
Ramadan, the ninth month of Muslim calendar, is marked by keeping fast from dawn to dusk. In previous years, Muslims in numbers used to visit mosques congregating for prayers and share various delicacies with their loved ones.
“The pandemic doesn’t target any religion, caste and creed. Thus, the Muslim community should help the government in combating the virus by fully observing the lockdown amid Ramadan, said Ansari.
Ansari also said that an inspection committee had been formed to identify COVID-19 suspects residing in groups in mosques, especially in eastern Nepal.
With all the mosques emptied in Nepal, the Muslims are seen strong-willed to mark their biggest festival at their homes. "Protection of human lives and public health is more important than celebration of any kind," said Sahadat Ali Miya, 43. "We should not be focusing on festivities, while the entire world is in mourning due to death of thousands of people."
"While in previous years, Ramadan celebration called for gathering of thousands of people for recital of Namaz, it is the opposite this year," said Miya. "This year, we have decided to mark the auspicious month in self-quarantine and by reciting Namaz at our homes, in isolation." Likewise, Faiza Mohammed, 26, of Bluwatar, said, "Ramadan is all about longing for self improvement and refraining from doing any sinful acts."
In the current scenario, defying the lockdown and celebrating Ramadan without considering the threat of COVID-19 would count as sinful activity, she added.
Therefore, the Muslim community should mark the festival by staying at home, said Mohammed.
"We are lucky to have been staying at home to celebrate this auspicious festival with our families and loved ones," she added. "We can mark Ramadan by making various delicacies and spending quality time with our families."
Mohammed also called her fellow Muslims to help the poor by providing food and other basic necessities.
"The festival is all about improvement of one's soul, which can be done by helping the needy ones. Therefore, all of us from our ends should strive to help the poor and homeless whose lives have been in difficulty amid the nationwide lockdown," she added.
Source: The Rising Nepal