By Rashied Omar
We observe Eid al-Fitr 2020 in an unprecedented manner. With mosques closed and families separated, in Eid we have to forgo our traditional practices of greeting each other by saying “baie slamat vir labarang” (congratulations for Eid), accompanied by congratulatory handshakes, loving kisses and warm hugs.
Nonetheless, the dominant emotion that sustains us at this celebratory time of Eid is that of gratitude.
We are thankful that despite the challenging times we are experiencing, by the grace of God we were still able to successfully complete our Ramadaan fasting and devotions in the sanctuaries of our homes.
Our Ramadaan 2020 experience was not only physically different, it was also spiritually distinctive. This unique period has allowed for an amplified religious retreat in which we were able to connect with our faith through deep reflection and consciousness, which is the great purpose of Ramadaan.
Under lockdown we have experienced a tremendous calling to share love and care with one another virtually. All of us have inspirational stories to relate about how extraordinary our Ramadaan 2020 experience was.
I would like to encourage everyone in the next few days to reflect on the valuable personal lessons we have learnt during the past Ramadaan and to internalise and embody them.
Let us on this great day of thanksgiving acknowledge the many hard-working essential health workers within our country and the world, the truck drivers, farm workers, supermarket staff, trash collectors, police services and health-care providers who are unselfishly serving on the front line of the fight to help us stay healthy, keep us fed and save lives.
We are grateful for their sacrifices and that of essential workers, and pray God will keep them safe and healthy. We ask God to grant relief to those facing hardships due to food insecurity and loss of income and livelihoods.
Most of all we pray that God inspires our medical researchers to find a vaccine and cure for this virus.
Lastly, we pray for all children that they may be enriched and inspired by this distinctive period in human history to fashion a more just and compassionate world.
* Omar is a research scholar of Islamic Studies at University of Notre Dame and imam of Claremont Main Road Mosque.