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‘Different’ Ramadan for Muslims in SA, but a chance to do things differently

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With the blessed month of Ramadan in our midst, Muslims around the world find themselves in unchartered territory. The coronavirus pandemic and the stringent lockdown regulations, has created a some-what sombre mood for the auspicious month ahead. But, the Muslim Judicial Council’s (MJC) Maulana Abdul Khaaliq Allie has reminded Muslims in the Cape that it is not all doom and gloom but rather a new challenge with even bigger blessings.

“We aren’t losing much in comparison to the amount of reward we can accumulate this month. Think about the blessings that come from the fact that we are going to be home-bound and being able to spend this glorious month in the company of your family. Those are one of the benefits that come with the fact that we are under lockdown,” reminded Maulana Allie.

One of the regulations that have come with the imposed lockdown is that all religious gatherings have been barred. This includes congregations at churches, synagogues and more importantly mosques.

“In that regard, we are all going to feel the pain and the longing to want to be inside the masjid. We are all going to miss the sacraments that would have come with the daily night prayers. We will all share the emptiness,” said Maulana Allie.

As much as the hearts of Muslims yearn to be in the masjid, he suggested that now is the time to use technology to its full capacity. Since before Ramadan, many local shuyookh and Islamic institutions have taken their lectures and recitations online, drawing in new, younger audiences, that may now benefit from their work.

“There are so many guidelines, recommendations and suggestions that have been posted onto social media by various organizations that can serve as a directive to those who wish to perform their athkar [remembrance of God] at home,” stated Maulana Allie.

He implored Muslim to use this time solely to reconnect to Allah and to supplicate, as it is readily accepted during this opportune month.

“Allah in His infinite mercy will provide us with the full reward of being inside of the masjid,” stated Maulana Allie.

Globally, Muslims have been concerned whether they are allowed to follow the imam leading Taraweeh [night prayers] on media platforms but the alim has advised Muslims to take advantage of the fact that they are able to acquire the reward of performing it in their own capacity.

“It is the time to capitalize on being the imam [cleric] within your home,” said Maulana Alli.

The month of Ramadan is the time to increase both giving and forgiving. Many communities across the Cape Flats have been grappling under the pressure of unemployment during the time of COVID-19. Allie urged Muslims to open their hearts and further open their pockets to the destitute.

“One of the characteristics of this ummah [community] is that it is an ummah of giving and therefore during this month of mercy we must increase our outreach to the broader community,” advised Maulana Allie.

Under lockdown regulations, it may not be possible to perform charitable acts physically but Maulana Allie stated it should not deter one from revelling in acts of kindness.

“The want to reach out must be very central in the month of Ramadan and remember it is not how much you give, it is the intention behind the charitable act that Allah loves the most,” concluded Maulana Allie.


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