There is gloom around the world, as more and more people lose their loved ones in this pandemic. Even the Hajj this year was not accessible to Muslims around the world.
Muslims in the Valley too have been performing their religious obligations at home. Many choose to offer Friday prayers, which otherwise are offered in congregation, in seclusion.
As Muslims, we must be responsible, and scientific with our mourning too. Be it the Muharram Jaloos, Majaalis, conferences and other forms of gathering.
As Kashmiris, religion plays an important role in our life.
And when we talk about Islam, the event at the apex level in the history of Islam is the massacre of Karbala. Although some 1,380 years have passed since this heart wrenching event took place in the lands of Iraq, its essence and relevance are present, now more than ever.
We can’t forget it, as it gives us strength to fight against evil, to curb injustice, and above all, it fills our hearts with the power of standing firm in times of adversities.
This begs a question. How can one skip such processions, in which we remember the grandson of the Prophet of Islam (ﷺ) Imam Hussain (A.S) and his 71 companions who fought against injustice and lawlessness?
It is not possible for believers to skip such processions or Majaalis.
But this year, the pandemic has changed almost the entire world-order. Each and every institution of the world, be it religious or non-religious, has transformed and adapted accordingly.
Believers and mourners are also supposed to change, as per Hikmah, our yearly routine of the Muharram programme. We need to follow the guidelines of our health institutions and administration.
Whatever the World Health Organisation and other research institutes are advising us in this crucial time is not colliding with the standards set by Islam, rather, our Islam is coinciding with these guidelines and set SOPs in a lot of ways.
We should limit our Majaalis to a minimum number of people, restrict large gatherings, and maintain physical distancing.
We should organize Majaalis for a short time duration.
We should cut Jaloos into small fragments in order to restrict the spread of the virus and wear masks.
Our elders are at higher risk, they should mourn at home in order to prevent themselves from the deadly coronavirus infection.
Those who are ill, or are having symptom like cough, fever and shortness of breath, should remain at home, in isolation, and not endanger others.
We should adhere to the SOPs, set by the health institutions.
We should wear masks properly, and sanitise regularly.
Sanitisers need to be made available on stalls, where we earlier used to serve tea, milk or other things to the mourners.
While serving Niyaaz etc., we should go through all the necessary precautions.
While doing charity, we should keep in mind that a mask can also be charity for those who can’t afford it.
We must organise Muharram Jaloos and Majaalis at spacious venues with proper ventilation.
We must pave way for the corona warriors, ambulances, and the needy while occupying the roads for Muharram processions.
We must discuss our Muharram procession programme with the administration and should get their permission first.
To execute above measures we need a well-trained squad of Hussaini volunteers. These volunteers need to be equiped with adequate protective gear.
If possible, every mourner should buy a PPE kit instead of the usual mourners’ dress. And for those who can’t buy it, we must join hands to get them this important safety kit.
We should also make people aware about the latest information regarding the deadly virus while participating in Muharram processions, in addition to our placards, and banners of Hussaini Daayirah.
People residing in red zones should avoid joining the Muharram procession and not endanger everyone.
As Muharram is a religious obligation, so is protecting ourselves from harm.
Our life is very precious and we need to safeguard it.
We can fight this virus while participating in the Muharram programme, provided, we follow the above said measures and the WHO guidelines in letter and spirit.
However if the situation gets ugly we need to reshape our strategy too, as per Hikmah. We need to work with, and develop, intellect. This will allow us to adhere to what our religious clerics say, and also keep everyone safe.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of Free Press Kashmir. Feedback and counter-views are welcome at [email protected]
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