From the holy Kaaba in Mecca to the Roman Cathedrals in the Vatican - almost each and every monumental place of worship has been temporarily shut down, due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 as a security measure to avoid mass transmission.
While this has been heartbreaking to the pious followers, the recent scenarios are showing that the Muslim majority of the country had never been so religiously active like they are now, during this global quarantining period - compared to the scenario in the pre-pandemic days.
A total of 90% of the population in Bangladesh is Muslim, thus the religious destination aka the mosques around the country always observe a sheer number of crowd attendance of pious Muslim men on a daily basis. That had to be changed once the pandemic went viral and reports started floating that any kind of mass-gatherings can encourage the virus to have a widespread transmission.
As hard as it gets to accept, the practising Muslims opted for performing their prayers at home - once the lockdown was announced and the Islamic Foundation, countries largest and pivotal Islamic body, urged everyone to avoid coming to the mosques and pray at home during their home quarantine.
“My father is very much used to going and performing his prayers five times in the local mosque. When the situation started getting more serious in the city and suggestions were floating around that the elderly people, especially those who have diabetics and asthma or cold-flue, should avoid their frequent movement in mosques - we urged him to stay and perform regular prayers at home,” Tanjila, a fourth-year student at College of Home Economics, told Dhaka Courier.
“The situation eventually called for a setting in which now we, the rest of the family members, are performing our prayers at home together at the same time. Prayers had never been so peaceful and better,” she explained the aftermath.
These kinds of positivities are floating around in the social media for a while now, given on the fact that most of the people are now being quarantined at home and in order to know their religion more enthusiastically, they are trying to practice and perform their prayers regularly as it was hectic for the majority to balance in between everyday schedule outside.
Many Muslims were dependent on going to the mosques, even during the rising of Coronavirus in the country. A few days ago team Dhaka Courier visited the Geneva Camp at Mohammadpur in the capital, where the number of crowds in the mosques inside the camp was comparatively higher than usual.
“People are now being more and more devoted to religion and performing their prayer in order to seek mercy from Allah to get rid of this virus. Besides people have nothing much to do, so they are thinking to utilize their leisure time by praying - thus the mosques are being overcrowded,” Washi Alam Bashir, President of Mohajir Rehabilitation & Development Movement (MRDM) at the Geneva Camp, told Dhaka Courier.
To address the health risks at the mosques during this crucial period, the Islamic Foundation issued some guidelines over various issues on March 30, including regular 5 times and Friday’s Jumu’ah Salat precautions and maintaining people’s safety at mosques, and the funeral of Coronavirus patients.
When the pandemic started affecting more lives in the country during the first week of April, Islamic Foundation urged everyone on April 4 to perform the prayers of Holy Shab-E-Barat on April 9 at home.
This month of holy Ramadan will certainly be tough for the Muslim community if the current situation continues, and PM Sheikh Hasina also suggested everyone perform their Taraweeh prayers at home.
“Many countries, including Saudi Arabia, have suspended Taraweeh prayers at mosques. In Bangladesh, the Islamic Foundation has laid out a set of guidelines which we must follow and perform our Taraweeh prayers at home," PM made the appeal during the video conference with government officials on the coronavirus situation from her official residence Ganabhaban on April 16, Thursday.
To seek mercy from Allah and rid ourselves from the deadly virus, Muslim people are now investing time to not only perform prayers five times a day, but also to read and understand the Holy Quran during this quarantining period. Many have been informing that they are reading the Bengali and English translation of the Holy Quran to understand the meaning underlying the Arabic Verses.
Not only common people, but many celebrity actors, singers, politicians, social media influencers and other entertainers are informing that they have been spending their times at home to learn and perform prayers better than ever.
“In this Quarantining period, I started to read the Bengali meaning of the Holy Quran and some other basic rules of prayers, to make this quarantine useful,” actor Imon told his fans during a Q&A in YouTube.
Although the deadly pandemic known as COVID-19 has been affecting the lives of people with a massive socio-economic crisis in Bangladesh, things like carbon-neutral air, a lower ratio of crime since independence and this rekindling bond with religion - these are becoming some of the ironical ‘feel-good’ aspects of Coronavirus in the country.