For the Dawoodi Bohras – a global community of Muslims – the holy month of Ramadan is a period of fasting, prayer and reflection. It is usually a time when Bohra masjids (or mosques) – the spiritual, educational and social hearts of the faith – take center stage.
All Dawoodi Bohras spent Ramadan 2020 safely at home in family groups, participating in online worship and playing their part to restrict the spread of the global pandemic by closing their masjids. This year, as lockdown restrictions are slowly eased in some parts of the world, including North America, more and more masjids have been authorised by local authorities to open for community worship.
Husain Suterwala, a representative of the Dawoodi Bohra community of Washington, DC, commented, ‘The masjid is a very significant part of Bohra community life. Primarily a place for community members to gather for prayer and spiritual guidance, it also serves as the nucleus of the Dawoodi Bohras’ educational and social activities, touching on each stage of every Bohra’s life and strengthening the bonds between individuals.’
Besides customary congregational prayers, all Dawoodi Bohra masjids – whether they be in the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, or Europe – host regular sermons and discourses, as well as special religious lessons. It is a place where children are taught about various aspects of the faith and a community kitchen and mawaid (dining hall) host community meals.
Where it is safe and responsible to do so and where local authorities have granted permission, Bohras in North America are gathering at their masjid during the holy month of Ramadan. However, where Covid-19 restrictions are still in place, such as in India, Bohras continue to worship at home and pray for fellow citizens in these most trying times, while looking forward to a time when they can safely return to their local masjid.
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