Vahid Salemi

(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

“I feel sad as the day of Eid is approaching.”

Those disenchanting words from attorney Nafeesa Mohammed, a mere 48 hours before today’s Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations brought another sobering reality to light of life during the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Mohammed reflected the mood of the local Muslim community when she spoke to Kitcharee on Friday. She says restrictions placed on gathering for worship and fellowship has made this year’s Eid celebration “a very sad occasion” for Muslims across the twin island Republic.

“This is a very sad occasion for the majority of Muslims in this country and therefore I envisage no significant change with the pandemic. Eid is a day of family, friends and food. However, this year’s Eid celebrations will be very different.

“Already, there are fears that law enforcement will be coming around to monitor the movement within the Muslim community. We live in a street with mainly family members and we intended to comply as best as possible with the restrictions,” Mohammed said during a WhatsApp exchange on Friday.

Ramadan curtailed

The former People’s National Movement (PNM) deputy political leader said Government’s stay-at-home order and ban on gatherings of more than five people has put a serious damper on the holy month of Ramadan.

“The pandemic has curtailed our religious activities in this holy month of Ramadan significantly. Whist we have been able to keep our fasts, the nightly Taraweeh prayers in congregation in the Masjids were prohibited.

We have not been able to pray the Friday Jummah prayers in congregation, but we accept the realities of these new normal restrictions, Mohammed lamented.

Family prayers and dinners at home have gone from large, open prayers and feasts to small intimate gatherings of immediate family, she said.

“In the case of our family in Mohammed Ville where we are accustomed congregating to break the fast with daily Iftaars and dinners, as well as, Maghrib, Taraweeh and Isha prayers in the night, we were unable to enjoy that spirit of love and togetherness,” she said.

Still determined to share happiness

As a practising attorney Mohammed, like so many other nationals of Trinidad and Tobago, has also been professionally affected by the lockdown. She says her earnings have been reduced over the past two months as she has only had a few clients and is unable to follow up on matters in the various courts and other registries.

Despite the challenges and restrictions, Mohammed said she, like most Muslims are prepared to do their best to make Eid memorable for their families and communities. Not able to physically enter homes to share traditional fast breaking Iftaars (meals), many have taken to making curbside deliveries for what Mohammed calls “Iftaars on wheels”.

“We converted these adversities into positives by enjoying our Iftaars on wheels. Every evening at least 100 Iftaar boxes were prepared and distributed in our community in accordance with the Covid-19 regulations,” she declared proudly.

Mohammed said in the midst of the “sad feeling” in the build-up to Eid her family is still expecting to create some happy memories today. Today Mohammed Ville will be a place of togetherness and love. The Mohammeds will celebrate Eid with their respective immediate families at home knowing that at least they are close to each other.

“We have tried our best to comply with the request to stay at home and practise social distancing and of course the sanitising requirements. Now we will be able to enjoy our sawine and other goodies and only Allah can dampen our spirits,” Mohammed concluded.

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