The Hendricks family in Sheraton Park, Steenberg. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
The Hendricks family in Sheraton Park, Steenberg. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

PICS: Covid-19 lockdown presents different kind of Ramadaan for Muslims

By Nathan Adams Time of article published May 9, 2020

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Cape Town - As we approach the mid-point of Ramadaan, introspection has become an important activity for many Muslims during lockdown.

Charitable deeds and prayers for Muslims have been different this time around as prayers cannot take place at mosques with religious gatherings not yet permitted at the level 4 stage of lockdown.

For Mogamat and Zulpha Hendricks, their children and grandchildren, Ramadaan during lockdown is a special time.

The family from Sheraton Park, Steenberg, has still been able to make and share food with those less fortunate in their area.

Mogamat Hendricks said: “We were able to make two 100l pots and a 60l pot of food and we shared it with people via the neighbourhood watch which was able to help.”

The halfway mark of Ramadaan is traditionally known locally as Boeber Aand (Boeber Night) in Cape Town. Boeber, a Cape Malay sweet milk, is often shared with family, friends and neighbours and Mogamat said this year they would celebrate a bit differently.

“We are excited for that. We would look out for the 15th of the month and we still are. This year will be completely different. We will share the day and Labarang (Eid al-Fitr) with the family in a virtual way via video call,” said Hendricks.

Reflecting on this time, Hendricks became emotional about the possibility of the pilgrimage to Mecca being called off. He was able to do his pilgrimage last year and travelled to Mecca months before the pandemic.

For Asha Ally, the thought of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is far from her mind. Ally, her sisters and her mother are struggling to make ends meet during lockdown. They are originally from Burundi, but now call Elsies River home. She was let go from her job at a laundry in Woodstock when lockdown began.

The Ally family in Elsies River. The family are observing Ramadaan, the holy month on the Muslim calendar. They have lived in Cape Town for 12 years after migrating from Burundi. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Ally said they had relied on food parcels. She has a 7-year-old son and her two sisters and their four children live with her.

“My mother put our names on a list for food parcels and we are hoping that they can help us,” she said.

Still hopeful her circumstances will change for the better, Ally said she often prays that the mosque in their neighbourhood would open because she believes that if the community could get together, she would be able to share her plight with others who would be able to assist them.

Faizel Ahmed and his wife Rafiqa Hassan have also adjusted to life under lockdown in Kenwyn. With their two daughters, the couple said up until now it’s been “perfect” fasting during lockdown.

The Ahmed family from Kenwyn. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Ahmed joked that it’s also been a great time for Rafiqa, who has been cooking and baking up a storm. Now, on the 15th day of Ramadaan, they have prepared the girls for a different approach to Eid.

“We will just be at home having lunch and supper indoors the new normal,” he added.

The pressure for families under lockdown is different but for Muslim families, this Ramadaan has been a poignant time for reflection and prayer, perhaps more so than usual.

Weekend Argus

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