AS a devout Muslim there is nothing Haji Kazim Hosein loves more than observing the holy month of Ramadan.
The joy of fasting and praying with his family and friends, the daily communal breaking of the fast (iftar) with the wider congregation at the mosque, is a ritual he looks forward to every year.
In the "new normal" covid19 scenario, Hosein, the Minister of Rural Development and Local Government, has had to adjust like the rest of the world to fasting this month, from sunrise to sunset – in isolation.
The month-long period of fasting ends this weekend, and Hosein invited the media to his Gulf View, La Romaine home one evening to observe the breaking of the fast and share a meal with him and his family.
The lavish meal, prepared by his wife Cathy and other family members consisted of the aromatic biryani rice, buss up shot (paratha), curried duck, goat, chicken, among other dishes and desserts.
His living room was transformed into a mosque as he broke fast with the drinking of water and finger foods around his dining table with Maulana Atif Majeed Suliamani, Iman of the San Fernando Jama Masjid and its president Waheed Majeed.
Under normal circumstances Hosein’s home would have been filled with family members and guests.
Furniture was pushed aside and replaced by beautifully woven mats, where the trio and a few men observed the salah, the second pillar of Islam that is performed five times a day.
The iman did a livestream on Facebook from Hosein’s home for his members to break their fast and do their duas in their own homes.
He made dua (one of the most powerful prayers) for the nation, the world and especially those affected by covid19.
“We make dua for them, for the healing and the cure.”
He said leading worship under covid19 restrictions has been challenging, especially reaching the elderly via social media, but with the help of younger members of their families the older heads and thousands of others now log in nightly.
The use of social media platforms has allowed the mosque to develop a database of its members and would be used post covid19 to better reach and assist with particular needs of individuals.
Hosein said while he missed going to the mosque to engage in deeper prayer and reflection, breaking the fast at home was an opportune time for families to get closer.
“I have missed the sense of community, inclusivity and Taraweeh (congregation prayers associated with Ramadan) during this sacred month of fasting,”
He said his family was very close, “but I believe Allah is testing with us with this virus. He is bringing us much closer. I am feeling it. I know it.
“I believe that this is a test by Almighty Allah (swt –subhanahu wa ta'ala – Glory ro Him, the exalted)), for families to share this period of fasting and prayer together, for their children to join with them in the daily rituals prescribed in the Holy Qur’an.”
Just as fasting began on April 24, in isolation, so too will it end this weekend, without the merriment in the mosques, gathering of families and friend dressed in their most elaborate wear, for the sharing of meals and fellowship.
Hosein called on all Muslims to be humble and said whatever they asked of Allah during this period would be granted.