Mosque aims for Covid-free Ramadaan

Congregants at the Al-Jamiah Masjid last Tuesday evening.

A Claremont mosque is helping Muslims stay true to the rituals of their holy month of Ramadaan while staying safe from the ever-present threat of Covid-19 infection.

Nazeem Jamie, chairman of the Al-Jamiah Masjid, says the mosque’s leadership believe the preservation of life is their first priority, so they are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the faithful can practise rituals of Ramadaan safely.

“We still aim to create an enabling environment to ensure the overall spiritual experience is not impacted upon.”

Maulana Abdullah Forbes says Muslims fast in the month of Ramadaan as an act of worship. “This act of worship nurtures the quality of God consciousness, which, in turn, enables a person to restrain their base self and ensure that all of their actions are in accordance with God’s law.”

It is also meant to nurture gratitude, empathy and other virtuous qualities the world is so in need of, he says.

The mosque’s regular community outreach work will be intensified during the holy month, says Mr Jamie.

“We have already delivered 100 pre-Ramadaan food parcels to households across Cape Town, covering Hanover Park, Heideveld, Bonteheuwel, Salt River, Woodstock, Kensington and Grassy Park.”

The mosque, he says, works with the Lillah Foundation, which cooks and distributes warm meals weekly, and the Saabri & Ashrafi Relief Fund, which donates 25 grocery and vegetable parcels to the mosque each week for distribution.

The mosque itself will distribute 100 food parcels weekly, along with monetary donations, to needy homes for Eid.

During the hard lockdown last year, Muslims couldn’t go to mosque or perform typical Ramadaan rituals, such as meeting at the mosque for a meal after sunset or performing the tarawah prayers during the last 10 nights of Ramadaan.

“It caused disappointment and heartache,” Mr Jamie says, “though, on the flip-side, homes were transformed into places of worship, and it caused families to grow closer.”

While Ramadaan this year is happening under more relaxed level-1 restrictions, Mr Jamie says the mosque will still be taking Covid-19 and the relevant safety measures very seriously.

All congregants, or musallees, must wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth, take their own prayer mat, perform ritual washing beforehand and wear socks.

“We sanitise all surfaces and areas daily, fog after prayers and just ensure optimum hygiene, health and safety practices.”

The mosque will also ensure there is adequate physical distancing among the musallees and keep all doors and windows open for ventilation.

Mr Jamie says Muslims pray that those who have suffered greatly under the pandemic find solace. “We pray that the Almighty Allah grant all deceased the highest abode in Heaven and grant ease to families who have lost loved ones.”

He adds: “If we will continually focus on the preservation of life through our sticking to the Covid-19 protocols, we will surely overcome this pandemic.”

The Al-Jamiah Masjid wishes the Muslim community a Ramadaan Kareem to all.