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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Columnist: Adam Mohammed Rabiu

Virtual Eid-ul-fitr amid coronavirus in Ghana and the lessons

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A couple of weeks ago, Muslims across the globe including Ghana observed Eid-ul-Fitr celebration amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The Eid-ul-Fitr celebration signified the completion of 30 days of fasting. Fasting in the month of Ramadhan is the fourth pillar of Islam and must be observed by all Muslims who have attained the adolescent age and of sound mind in accordance with the Qur’an chapter 2 verse 183 (Suratul Baqara).

Throughout the month of Ramadhan, Muslims abstained from food, water and sex from dawn to sunset and further engaged in more zikr to Allah for the purpose of attaining piety.

In Ghana, Muslim brothers and sisters fasted amid the COVID-19 lockdown where special congregational prayers like Taraweeh and Tahajud were not observed in the usual mosques due to social distancing protocols. However, these special prayers were carried out in the various homes with a family member being the Imam. There are significant lessons that cannot be over-emphasized as far as the Eid-ul-Fitr 2020 is concerned.

After the 30 days of fasting, all Muslims celebrated the Eid-ul-Fitr festival across the country in their respective homes. The national Eid prayer was symbolically observed in the studio of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) through virtual means led by the National Chief Imam, His Eminence Dr Alhaji Nuhu Osmanu Sharubutu. The virtual Eid celebration prayers brought together all the leaders of the various sects and were led by the National Chief Imam indicating unity with purpose. The virtual Eid was remarkable as it was first of its kind in this country as the National Chief Imam led leaders of the various sects in prayer. The organizers of that spectacular and memorable occasion deserve commendations.

First and foremost, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique avenue where Muslims demonstrated the adaptability of the Islamic religion through obeying leaders and the availability of alternatives means of worshipping Allah. The pandemic also presents the ever-calling challenge to the entire Muslim ummah to seek knowledge as the significance of such knowledge manifested in this COVID-19 era where a knowledgeable family member led all the special congregational prayers observed in the homes.

Another interesting dimension and lesson to the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr 2020 was the element of humanity. For instance in Germany (Berlin), Martha Lutheran Church offered it Church premise to the Muslims fraternity to use as Eid prayer grounds as they were to observe social distancing protocols and the church Pastor took part in the service. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 has present such a unique opportunity for humanity to serve each other. The inter-religious collaboration gesture needs to be sustained and replicated in other countries mainly Ghana and other African countries due to seemingly religious intolerance among some followers of the faiths. The presence of the pandemic did not stop the usual cooking of rice and sharing it to neighbours and particularly the needy in the community. As usual, all Muslims were seen clad in their new beautiful dresses.

Further, the virtual Eid unity demonstrated by the sectorial leaders in the Islamic religion should not end in the studio of GBC but rather must be seen permeating the various Muslim communities. Furthermore, the sectorial representatives that observed the virtual Eid prayers in unison should be considered as marking the beginning of forming Shura or Consultative Council of Muslims in Ghana. Again, these sectorial leaders have the utmost responsibility to educate their followers most especially the youth to resist from being used as political power searching-tools thereby causing mayhem in the coming electioneering activities in Ghana.

As the restrictions concerning usage of places of worship like have been opened, the healthy related protocols outlined by the knowledgeable people must be adhered to strictly for health first before worship. It is important that faith is balance with realities. The most worrying issue was where several people on the streets were not wearing the facemasks during the Eid period. The local government must up their strategies in curbing the spread of the Coronavirus in the various communities. We have to learn how to stay with the pandemic until Allah will replace the burdensome moment to reward for us.

Let us continue to pray for mother Ghana as we are left with a few months to the general election. Peace is what we need. May Allah continue to bless Ghana.