Cotabato City (May 24, 2020)—As the entire world continues to combat the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Muslims were placed in an entirely unique position for the past 30 days. Aside from adapting to the quarantine measures, Muslims had to observe the sacred month of Ramadhan inside their homes.
For the Bangsamoro communities in the Philippines, the celebration of this year’s is Eid’l Fitr is not an exemption to the restrictions caused by the crisis; prompting various feelings and ways to enjoy one of the two biggest festivities in Islam.
Just like major gatherings affected by the Covid-19 crisis, Eid’l Fitr was observed quite differently this year. Contrary to what has been practiced in various Bangsamoro communities all over the country, where Muslims would gather up for the congregational prayer usually performed in open fields followed up by various social gatherings, like eating together or going to beaches.
This time, none of those would be possible. With quarantine measures still in place, the Bangsamoro celebrated Eid’l Fitr inside their respective homes.
While religious clerics all over the Bangsamoro consistently reminds Muslim worshippers to abide by the ongoing quarantine measures, it’s expected that the transition is not easy, especially for those who would take Ramadhan and the Eid celebrations to be with their families and in some cases, rekindle ties.
For some, it is not just the physical adjustments that make this year’s Eid different, but the emotional shift going towards the celebration.
“It’s sad, because usually after the Eid prayer, we’d visit our relatives and even the graves of those who already departed. We would have ‘kandulis’ (traditional food offering). Eid has somehow become an annual reunion for our family,” said 26-year-old Ashreabai Sinarimbo, who currently works in a local government unit in Maguindanao.
Roaming around to visit loved ones was not be possible this year due to quarantine protocols. Families had to make use technology to greet and reconnect with each other for the meantime.
“Now, I’m not sure what to do or expect. The feeling this year is different from what we’re used to. I mean, before, because you would really feel you belong to a community, united for worship. But now, we cannot see that anymore, since we’re stuck in our homes,” Sinarimbo added.
For Al-raffy Harun, a ground crew for an airport in Tawi-Tawi, this year’s Ramadhan and Eid celebration changed the norm unexpectedly, especially for their community who are used to traditional “takbir,” when culminating the end of the 30-day long fasting.
“Honestly, nakakapanibago, at ang hirap tanggapin na yung dating nakasanayan mo ay bigla na lang hindi na pwedeng gawin. Lalo na dito sa amin sa Sitangkay, Tawi-Tawi na halos lahat ay Muslim at nakasanayan na tuwing Eid celebration ay inaabangan ang “takbir” kasama na ang sobra-sobrang paghahanda ng bawat bahay sa pagdating kani-kanilang mga bisita, kasama na ang paghahanda ng mga kasuotan” Harun said.
Acceptance and Optimism
Harun also said that despite the cancellation of traditional practices during Eid, Muslims should find positivity from this sudden shift including the gift of being with the family throughout the quarantine period.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason at kung hindi man pwedeng magdasal sa Masjid, at least pwede sa bahay kasama ang pamilya,” Harun added.
For Mindanao State University – Malabang Community High School teacher Jamal M. Baulo, Muslims should see both the good and the bad as equal opportunities for learning and making the most in isolation.
“I feel blessed for this year’s celebration, since I have become more closer to my family since the ECQ began, especially most of our family stayed at home. We cannot deny the fact na mas masaya pa rin kapag ginagawa ang Salatul Eid sa ating mga Masjid,” Baulo said.
Baulo added that he had to research how to lead the Eid prayer but felt happy that he gets to perform it with his family.
“Napasearch rin ako kung paano ko ito isasagawa kasama ang pamilya sa loob ng bahay. Nakakatuwa na sa kabila ng pangamba at kalungkutan ay biniyayaan parin tayo ni Allah ng ating mga bahay kung saan ating itatayo ang Salatul ‘Eid. Very challenging at the same time nakakagaan ng kaluoban na literal na magkakasama kayo ng pamilya mo sa pagtayo ng salatul eid. Walhamdulillah, kahit sa kabila ng pandemic na ito ay masaya parin naming ipagdidiriwang ang Eid-ul Fitr kasama ang aking mga pamilya,” Baulo added.
The Bangsamoro is expected not just to embrace the changes brought upon by Covid-19, but to take this experience as another chapter to their long and storied history.
The changes are there but the Bangsamoro remains faithful and most importantly, resilient. And as cliché as it may seem, this, too, shall pass. (Bureau of Public Information)