Muslims in the Northeast on Saturday prepared for online prayers and virtual gatherings during Ramazan this year.
“This Ramazan is different from the earlier ones. But it is necessary to defeat coronavirus. Let us observe a safe Ramazan and Id-ul-Fitr. Wear masks, gloves and maintain social distancing norm. We pray to get rid of the pandemic. Allah willing, we will stay safe and healthy,” Naushad Ahmed, 24, a BSc second year student of Dibrugarh University, said.
Islamic scholar Benajir Begum, 102, said: “Never in my life have I seen such a crisis like coronavirus pandemic. But we should not feel defeated. By following the guidelines issued by the governments and obeying health experts’ advice, we can stay safe. I am optimistic and have deep faith in Allah who is very kind. I always feel enthusiastic about out rituals and festivals.”
Everything has changed this time due to the lockdown — from declaration of the sighting of the moon to takrir (religious discourse). Everything is being done online. There will be online and app arrangements for sabine (listening to the Quran) and for informing about sehri and iftar. There will be online takrir this time.
Ramazan began after sighting of the crescent moon late Friday evening after azan. Dr Mufti Mukarram, imam of Fatehpuri mosque, formally declared the month of Ramazan.
Mufti said: “If the Friday prayer and five-time prayers can be offered from home, all the other rituals can also be done by staying indoors. There is nothing wrong in offering namaz from home during crisis .”
Several prisoners fast during Ramazan and the jail authorities have made provisions for squash, juice and fruits for them.
Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted: “Ramazan Mubarak. May the spirit of Ramazan illuminate our hearts with compassion and love for each other. May the holy month bestow upon us countless blessings and strength to fight against the global pandemic. Let’s together build a safer tomorrow.”
The general secretary, All Assam Minorities Students’ Union, Firujur Rahman, on Saturday released a press note appealing to all mosques, maktab and madarsa committees to follow the guidelines on Covid-19 and not organise any congregation during Ramazan. “Everyone should offer namaz at home. We should read the holy Quran inside our house only. All should help the government in the fight against the pandemic.” Firujur said.
The Assam government has ensured door-to-door delivery of fruits and vegetables. Several NGOs too have come forward to distribute iftar meals to low-income workers and families across the region.
There are nine Muslim majority districts in Assam — Barpeta, Dhubri, Karimganj, Goalpara, Darrang, Bongaigaon, Hailakandi, Nagaon and Morigaon. The total Muslim population of the state is 10,679,345.