Ashmead Ali and Nadeira Khan break fast with their children.

It is the second year that Muslims will be celebrating Eid during a pandemic but even though COVID-19 restrictions have prevented communal gatherings, Muslims say their family bonds are stronger than ever.

In an interview with Guardian Media, Ashmead Ali and Nadeira Khan, the directors of the ASH-NAD Foundation, said they were grateful to spend every night breaking fast together.

“Usually, I would be at the mosque and Nadeira will be home with the children. During the month of Ramadan, we like to make a dua to thank Allah for his favours to keep the fast. We make collective dua and ask for Allah’s blessings and that he accepts our good deeds and fast. We make dua and break the fast. Then we make the sunset prayer,” Ashmead explained.

Before the COVID-19 restrictions, Ali said the breaking of the fast would have taken place in the masjid where members of the Jamaat would assemble.

Ali said while they missed seeing their brothers and sisters of the faith, Muslim families now have the opportunity to bond closer as a family.

“Breaking our fast together as a family has created more closeness within the family circle. We are praying collectively every night. A family that prays together, stays together and this is something that we were seeing happening during this month,” Ali said.

His wife Nadeira said COVID-19 was a warning to humanity to turn away from doing wicked deeds.

“I believe it is a signal from the Almighty telling us we are not invincible and that we need to take precautions and be mindful of our lives and our lifestyles,” Khan said.

She added, “For me, (COVID-19) has brought me closer to Him (Allah). I am praying a lot more, thanking him a lot more. I am reading the Quran a lot more than I have ever done in my entire life and he is sending a message to humanity that they need to get their act together and put their house in order.”

Both Khan and Ali said their charitable works have not been impeded by COVID-19.

Under Islamic teachings, a Muslim is honour-bound to contribute two and a half per cent of his earnings to assist needy families. Through the ASH-NAD Foundation, contributions have been collected and over 300 hampers have been prepared to assist poor Muslim families.

Last week, the project coordinator of the Foundation Zanim Mohammed said because of the restrictions, Muslims did not go out into communities distributing hampers. Instead, the representatives of various Jamaats provided a list of names to the foundation and once hampers were prepared, they were delivered to the various mosques for distribution.

Mohammed said unlike previous years, there were no distributions among the migrant population. He said Muslims had to take every precaution to ensure that all COVID-19 protocols were being observed.

Last week, the public relations officer at ASJA Imam Raffaic Mohammed announced that all masjids will remain closed, all Imams will remain in seclusion and all Muslim families will celebrate Eid within their intimate family circle.

—Radhica De Silva