As the holy month of Ramadan heads to an end, all the Muslims across the world will prepare to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with utmost happiness and devotion. However, the world is not the same living place where we used to observe the religious and cultural days communally. Under the lockdown circumstances, we cannot even think of spending an Eid day the way we usually do every year. This time, like Pahela Baishakh and the whole month of Ramadan, Eid celebration must take place differently.
One of the most important aspects of Eid celebration is the congregational prayer which generally takes place in the mosques, fields and Eidgah. Eid prayer is something Muslims look forward to all day long. Elderly members of a family take the younger ones to the Eidgah and introduce them to the religious cultural to which they belong. However, due to the venomous outbreak of COVID-19, all the prayer halls, mosques and public gatherings are closed. So, this time, it is more likely that the prayer will not take place outside. Rather, Muslims are encouraged to perform their Eid prayer at their own place. Even Musim Council of Britain urges people to avoid communal Eid celebration to maintain social distancing properly.Many orthodox religious Muslims may have problem with the notion of praying at home. But you know what? Almighty Allah is omniscient. He knows everything, even if it is hidden in our mind. Allah is the only mind-reader which we call “ontorjami” in Bangla. So, it really does not matter where we place your feet to perform our prayer. What matters more is where our “Imaan” stands and what really we intend to do. The whole month of Ramadan gives us a chance to purify our mind. It is a spiritual journey which we make to please our God. So, if that be the case, an in-house prayer will also do! During this pandemic, it is more important to remain safe and let others lead safe lives.
We have already celebrated a different kind of Pahela Baishakh under lockdown. So, we know how to observe a special day virtually. Recently, a heart-crunching photo of a crowd heading towards their native places got viral on Facebook. In the photo, an infant, probably of just a few weeks or months old, took our breath away. The little scared one was, unwantedly, unknowingly and unacceptably, going to celebrate Eid with his extended core family. After seeing the photo, I got boiled with frustration. I do not understand how parents of the little baby could be so careless and irresponsible! The baby could have badly injured or even died. The meaning of the word “Eid” seemed so ironical at that time.
During this pandemic period and under the lockdown condition, we even should not visit the places of our friends, families and relatives. Neither should we invite anyone at our place too. There is no guarantee of life. Still, if we survive this deadly virus and live the later years, we will have more special days to be celebrated together. For now, we must not break the rule of social distancing. Sometimes, it is essential to step back for a while in order to come forward later.
On an Eid day, usually we cook special dishes, sit in front of the TV to watch Eid special entertaining and cultural programs and enjoy our time with our family and friends. It may all happen this time too. But we must make sure that we do not spend unnecessarily on stuffs. Instead of cooking more than we eat, we can just give away the raw food items and ingredients to the poor and helpless people. Eid teaches us to share our materialistic and immaterialist possessions. Let us utilise the chance of helping others more on this Eid. Let us help the Amphan victims too.
Many people have already managed to buy new clothes and exotic dresses. Everyone wants to look better and even the best version of him/her on the special occasions. Those who have bought dress from online and offline outlets deserve kudos. They have contributed to the economy of our local entrepreneurs. However, those who did not take any risk of letting the packets enter the premises of their houses deserve kudos too! It is because they have contributed to retain the safety measures of COVID-19. I belong to the second category. Both types of people deserve appreciation if they maintained social distancing and took proper safety precautions.
Eid means happiness and joy. We celebrate to share our happiness with others. For the time being, the only joy lies in living a virus-free life. The only happiness relies on the safety options we pursue and healthy decisions we make. This is going to be a very special Eid. We may explore a few hidden talents in us. Since many of us have been living without a helping hand for more than two months, I believe, we have already developed many domestic skills. Let us explore and enhance more skills. Hopefully the world will recover soon and we will meet again. Then we will surprise each other by doing many productive, constructive and creative tasks which we never did before.Since the congregational prayer is very important on Eid-ul-Fitr, we can stand separately at our own individual places and collectively pray for the speedy recovery of the world. Eid Mubarak!
The writer is a Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University Chittagong