Jumat-ul-Vida – Help the needy
Jumat-ul-Vida is the last Friday of Ramzan, the day Muslims bid farewell to the holy month and start preparations for Eid-ul-Fitr. The day is observed by the entire Muslim world with special noon congregational prayers. In Kashmir, people offer Friday prayers at Dargah Hazratbal, Jama Masjid, Srinagar and all other Jama Masjids and shrines. At Hazratbal, it usually is a very special occasion where Moi-Mubarak (the Holy Relic of Prophet SAW) is displayed for public viewing. However, given the dangerous spread of Covid-19, this time round the Muslims will miss both these congregational prayers, Deedar (viewing) of Holy Relic and other related festivities. The pandemic has changed the entire world and has forced people to stay indooers. Like other parts of country, Kashmir too has been witnessing sharp surge in Covid-19 positive cases and infection related deaths. The situation has reached such a stage that the administration was forced to impose Covid related restrictions despite being well aware of its economic costs. The step was taken keeping in view the reality that when a choice is to be made between economics and life, the life should take the precedence and that is what the administration has done and that is what the people are expected to do. It was in this backdrop that most of the Masjid managements in Kashmir decided to not have routine congregational prayers during the month of Ramzan including Taraweh and that is the spirit behind not having Friday congregational prayers on Jumat-ul-Vida. Though the very idea of not having congregational prayers on this auspicious day is painful, but Islam being the religion of logic and reasoning directs its believers to do nothing that threatens the wellbeing of others. Islam and its Prophet (SAW) have forbidden the believers from indulging in an act that, in anyway, threatens the lives and well being of others and the Islamic scholars have widely quoted Prophet (SAW) saying “If you hear about it (an outbreak of plague) in a land, do not go to it; but if the plague breaks out in a country where you are staying, do not run away from it’. The message explicitly conveys what in modern time we describe as quarantine and social distancing.
That said, the Muslims should not feel disheartened but should understand and realize that by not offering congregational prayers on Jumat-ul-Vida they are not committing any sin but doing a great service to their ownselves and to others. By staying at home, they are helping to contain the spread of pandemic and thus contributing their bit in saving human lives. Understandably the lockdowns and disturbances due to Covid-19 have had a serious toll on the economy of the people and there are fellow human beings who are in desperate need of financial help. Fasting Muslims, who have been bestowed by the Almighty with sound financial backup should come forward on Jumat-ul-Vida and on Eid to help the poor and needy. Helping needy is one of the fundamentals of Islam and that is why there is more stress on Sadqa-e-Fitr and Zakat. Muslims, those who are in a position to do so, should wholeheartedly help their fellow humans who are in dire need of financial assistance. That is the message of the Islam and that is the message of holy month of Ramzan. Need is that civil society members gear up, establish Mohalla and village committees and do a survey about the needy people in respective vicinities. All, those who can afford, should pitch in to help the needy so that no one in Kashmir suffers due to the restrictions. If the Muslims of Kashmir will ensure that, Allah will undoubtedly bestow upon them all his mercy.