• Aslam Abdullah

A Community lived its ideals of Love and Compassion During the Pandemic

Muslims all over the world lived the spirit of the month of fasting not only by abstaining from food, drink, and much social malice but by serving people during this unusual pandemic related lockdown. From small towns in the US to the big cities of India and from small villages in Nigeria to the rural habitations in Italy, Muslims were everywhere with food, water, medicine, and masks. They emerged as a community that cares and shares its resources with others regardless of their religion and social status. In the US, through their masjid, Islamic centers, or restaurants, they offered a free meal to everyone who needed help. They went to alleys of New York and suburbs of Chicago and small towns of California and Michigan with cooked, uncooked food, water, face masks, and medicine to serve the elderly and the needy. In Turkey, they prepared food bags and left on street corners for anyone to pick them up. In Pakistan, they went to the remotest areas to feed the hungry and in Indonesia, they organized door to door campaigns to ensure no one goes hungry in their town. In India, they stood on the highways to feed the migrant laborers walking back to their homes from the big cities because transportation was no available. They even cremated or buried the dead bodies of those who passed away due to Convid-19 complications. In Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, they were the first ones to extend their hand of support to expatriates ensuring that lockdown does not cause them hunger or homelessness. All over the world, the community whose members have suffered Islamophobic campaigns in China, India, the USA, Australia, Eastern Europe, or Europe were at the forefront as relief workers while fasting. Thousands of Muslim doctors, nurses, and other health workers risked their lives taking care of patients in unsafe conditions. Many lost their lives and many got the infection, yet they continued their work sleepless and tirelessly for months, with no visits to their families while fasting. The Muslim community was generous in this month of fasting. It was concerned about the well being of everyone. It supported business and it supported hospitals amidst news that many Islamophobes were preventing Muslims from entering their villages or towns or getting treatment in public hospitals. In India, the Islamophobic government led by the fascist leaders tried to hold them responsible for the spread of coronavirus and detained thousand of them for being part of a religious gathering of the Tableegi Jamat in New Delhi, yet the Muslim community was the first one that came forward to donate blood and plasma so that Covid-19 patients can find a treatment. Everywhere they shared their resources. They cut down on their expenses and whatever limited resources they had they did not hesitate to donate. Muslim businesses in Canada and the USA or in the Gulf or in South Asia were some of the largest donors. The governments of the Muslim countries also did not lag behind. When the US cut its financial support to the World Health Organization, Saudi Arabia came up with 500 million dollars support. Muslim scientists and technologists worked hard to support efforts to find a cure for the Virus. In fact, the Muslim community, during this Ramadan, lived the verse of the Quran, which says, there should be a group among people with dedication to serve others with everything good. Mosques were closed, yet the faith was alive. Ramadan gatherings were absent, yet the spirit of Ramadan was visible everywhere. It was difficult to celebrate a Ramadan without mosques, yet God was present in every Muslim home as every residence became a virtual masjid. Even those who were on the periphery of the faith found God with their families and relatives/ Indeed, it was a miraculous transformation

The rich and the poor all lived this spirit. Even the poorest of the poor came forward with whatever they had to serve others regardless of the faith. During this Ramadan, a new Muslim community emerged, a community that realizes its true purpose with the feelings of sacrifice to serve humanity at large. The fasting was their personal effort to discipline them with a style of life that promotes respect, humanity, and love for others. They achieved it at a time when people thought that their spirit may dampen and their commitment to serving others may weaken. One can only hope that the Muslim children who witnessed their elders and parents, as well as the community at large serving others, will feel proud of their identity as Muslims and will grow with a sense of responsibility towards all with love and malice to none.

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