The outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has restricted people of almost all religions from entering their worship places. However, there has been no such impediment on the Dawoodi Bohra community and they did not ‘miss’ going to the Masjids, as the mosques came into their homes, virtually.
Dawoodi Bohra Muslims have been making full use of technology to ensure that they continue to be in touch with their religious activities and rituals.
Be it the usual namaz or the special prayers of Ramzan or that of Bakri Eid, the community conducted prayers on the virtual platforms and celebrated their festival and rituals with a slight change, i.e. by sitting in their living rooms and without stepping out.
"For Bakri Eid, our entire family got dressed up and we made full preparations as usual. The only difference was we did not visit the mosque, but that has been the scenario for the last few months now. In fact, we are not missing going to Masjids now," said Arwa Malekjee, a resident of south Mumbai.
According to Malekjee, the community has not been missing going to Masjids now, because they have created mosques in their own homes. "We cannot say it is a mosque exactly, but yes we were asked to decorate our house in a way that creates a mosque-like atmosphere. The main aim for this directive by our religious leader was to ensure that the community gets the feeling of the aura of the mosque," she said, adding, "These guidelines were issued initially when the lockdown was declared so that we do not get out of our homes and pray inside our four walls."
Apart from decorating the house like a mosque, the community has made full use of the technology to be in touch with their religious activities.
"We are conducting virtual prayers from the very beginning of lockdown. Virtual prayers are such that the community has been brought on one platform at a particular time, and then everyone recites the prayers together. However, they sit at their respective homes and strictly maintain social distancing norms," Malekjee said.
Speaking about the virtual prayers and the experiences, a spokesperson of the community said, "It has been a unique experience for all of us as we are making optimum use of modern technology and virtual platforms to participate in live-stream discourses, recitation of the Holy Quran and other religious and educational activities."
"Despite the different execution in religious practices this year, the spirit of Ramadan, Eid and other religious occasions have not been compromised. In fact, the silver lining is having to spend quality time with our families - right from bonding with the elderly to rekindling past memories to helping our wives in making special meals, which we would have been too busy to do otherwise," the spokesperson added.