At this challenging time, when we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and one of the largest annual gatherings on earth the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) has been limited to just over 1 000, we pray that the Lord of Compassion showers mercy on all intending pilgrims for their patience.
While we laud the Hajj authorities for taking this difficult but necessary decision in the interests of saving lives, we commiserate with the millions of disappointed pilgrims who were unable to fulfil their noble intentions (niyyat) to undertake their coveted journey of the Hajj this year.
Most of all we make pray that God opens up the way for them to fulfil a sacred milestone and travel safely to perform their delayed Hajj next year, Insha-Allah.
On this great day of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) we acknowledge the sacrifices of workers across many different essential sectors within our country and the world, the healthcare providers, farmworkers, supermarket staff, truck drivers, refuse collectors, relief workers, police, teachers and many others who are unselfishly serving on the front line of the pandemic.
We pray that God grants them goodness and ease and keeps them safe and healthy.
We lament the fact that millions of South Africans have lost their jobs and livelihoods since the beginning of the pandemic. It is heart-rending to see long snaking queues of women and children waiting for a warm meal or food parcel on icy-cold days.
We express our gratitude to the volunteers in all the community action networks and other NGOs who have selflessly made and served hot meals in these communities. We ask God to grant relief to those who face hardships due to food insecurity and loss of income and livelihoods.
On this day of sacrifice, we remember in our supplications all those who have lost their lives during this pandemic, especially those who have succumbed to the virus. Last but not least, we pray for all those who are ill. We pray that God inspires our medical researchers to find a vaccine and cure for the virus and we especially pray for the success of the first clinical trial in South Africa for a vaccine.
On this celebratory day of Eid, I encourage you to continue to nurture spiritual fortitude, to remain positive and place your trust in God. Let us continue to be vigilant and to practise physical distancing. However, this does not mean that we should keep ourselves isolated from others – we can use the phone, send WhatsApps, make Zoom calls and FaceTime our loved ones to remind them that they are in our hearts. I wish you all:
May you enjoy a happy and blessed Eid.
May your entire year be filled with goodness, peace, and most of all good health.
Baie Slamat vir Labarang.
* Dr A Rashied Omar, Imam of the Claremont Main Road Mosque and research scholar of Islamic Studies and Peace building, University of Notre Dame.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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