Misbah Anmol Tariq, Jamaica Correspondent
Physical distance between relatives is deeply felt during special occasions. It really hits you during moments such as the birth of your nieces and nephews, on the graduation of your siblings and especially on a day such as Eid.
However, with the grace of Allah, the Jamaat in which you serve becomes your family. I moved from Germany six years ago after marrying a missionary and I can say with a pure heart that I had never felt any loneliness on Eid until last year.
Every year prior to that, members of the Jamaat graciously invited us to be a part of their family gatherings, simply because they did not want us to spend the day alone. A lot of hard work and effort goes into inviting others over. Many formal arrangements end up being made. Yet still, they wanted to include us because they knew, as life devotees serving the Jamaat, we were far from our families.
Last year, we spent Eid alone for the first time. It was just me, my husband and our two little children. The two Eid celebrations in 2020 were spent a walking-distance away from the mosque, without the ability to go inside and pray.
This year, we were fortunate enough that the government had allowed small gatherings. In normal circumstances, we would have Eid with members from across the island of Jamaica coming together at the Mahdi Mosque in Old Harbor. This time, Eid was held at two separate locations and members offered their prayers in their respective regions.
One gathering was allowed in the mosque and another was allowed in the parish of Trelawny in a community centre.
That is why this year has felt significantly special. During all of 2020, our activities were being held on Zoom and now, being allowed to gather in small numbers for Eid, felt like a great blessing.
While we all had to wear masks, get our temperatures checked and refrain from hugging anyone following Eid prayer, the true essence of Eid was still reignited this year.
To see the livelihood and the sheer presence of worshippers in the mosque created a beautiful atmosphere for all of us to enjoy.
Some volunteers had decorated the mosque with crafty banners saying “Eid Mubarak”, a self-made balloon garland and other small decorative items. It all gave the mosque a joyful ambience.
In his sermon, the missionary, Tariq Azeem Sahib spoke about the importance of Salat and the need to improve in this regard. He then continued to speak about the significance of instilling mutual love and brotherhood amongst ourselves as Muslims.
In the Trewlany chapter, the missionary Ahmad Forson’s Eid sermon was about how to make the good habits learnt during the month of Ramadan part of our lives. Members were also encouraged to practice voluntary fasting as “fasting in general is good for us” both spiritually and health-wise, in reference to the following verse of the Holy Quran:
وَ اَنۡ تَصُوۡمُوۡا خَيۡرٌ لَّكُمۡ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ
“And fasting is good for you, if you only knew.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.185)
In the end, members were reminded to pray for Hazrat Amirul Momineen, may Allah be his Helper, the entire Jamaat and especially the crisis in Palestine.
After the prayer at the mosque, one Jamaican sister distributed homemade cake and chaat (chickpea salad), along with mosque-grown coconuts to drink from.
After offering Zuhr and Asr prayers, members concluded the special day with a formal lunch.
This was an Eid that we will remember for the rest of our lives: the first Eid after Covid-19. This Eid taught us the value of the Jamaat. It taught us that the Jamaat brings us together as a family, united under Khilafat and the motto, “Love for all, hatred for none.”
May we never forget the blessings and the unity that this special Jamaat adds to our lives.