'The strangest Ramadan ever': Ottawa Muslims have a good time Eid with drive-in prayer

Imam Muhammad Sulaiman leads a special drive-in Eid prayer at the Ottawa Mosque on Saturday.

The plans for the Ottawa Mosque’s first drive-in prayer to have a good time Eid al-Fitr had been finalized round 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Hours later, a whole lot of automobiles stuffed a parking zone behind the mosque on Northwestern Avenue, with automobile radios tuned to a station the place Imam Muhammad Sulaiman would lead the Eid prayer. Some automobiles had been adorned with balloons or ribbons, a method of sustaining some cheer throughout one of the crucial vital Islamic festivals, marking the top of Ramadan and a month of fasting from daybreak to sundown. Sometimes, a head would come out of a sunroof in order that particular person might wave at a buddy.

Organizing the occasion to adjust to a latest Ontario order allowing drive-in non secular companies whereas sustaining bodily distancing was a serious logistical feat, and arranging the ultimate particulars needed to wait till the final minute as a result of the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau needed to verify a moon sighting to kick off Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

 A special drive-in Eid prayer was held at the Ottawa Mosque on Saturday.

The ultimate scramble to arrange the drive-in prayer was the end result of “t

he strangest Ramadan ever” for Ottawa Muslim Affiliation President Ahmed Ibrahim. The mosque would usually be at full capability, across the clock, all month. Prayer and Iftar dinners deliver collectively  a neighborhood that feels extra like household, Ibrahim stated.

As an alternative, like everybody else, native Muslims spent the month of Ramadan at dwelling, practising bodily distancing. They prayed with speedy household as a substitute of on the mosque. There’s so much to overlook, however there have additionally been upsides to this disruption to the norm, Ibrahim stated. Mother and father had been inspired to attach extra their youngsters, learn the Quran and practise the rituals of Ramadan collectively. 

“Individuals spent extra time with their households, spent extra occasions with their youngsters, there have been tons of connections,” Ibrahim stated. “Hopefully, that can enrich the household.”

One prayer attendee, Khadra Gulaid, stated her younger daughter was capable of full her Ramadan quick for the primary time, made simpler by being at dwelling with household, a silver lining in mild of the continued college closures which have disrupted the routines of each Ontario pupil.

“It was lovely,” Gulaid stated about her expertise during the last month. 

 A young girl peeks out of the vehicles sunroof during the special drive-in Eid prayer at the Ottawa Mosque on Saturday.

Tarik Saleh, who attended the drive-in prayer along with his spouse and three youngsters, stated his religion had been a selected asset throughout the pandemic.

“Normally throughout calamity, it’s essential flip to one thing. Flip to your loved ones, flip to your religion, to get energy, to get energy, to remain on with day by day life,” Saleh stated.

“Worshipping throughout Ramadan truly helped with that.”

Like each non secular neighborhood, Muslims have needed to adapt the logistics of practising their religion within the COVID-19 period. Most will spend the remainder of the day celebrating Eid over the cellphone, FaceTime, WhatsApp, and different digital platforms, Ibrahim stated. However, quickly sufficient, he stated he hoped the Ontario authorities would enable restricted in-person non secular gatherings that might enable Muslims to re-enter their mosques whereas sustaining bodily distancing, if it was secure to take action.

From Eid celebrations over Zoom to digital prayer, all companies have been transformed “from face-to-face, heart-to-heart, human-to-human, to a machine or a TV to a human,” Ibrahim stated. “It’s OK, however not for lengthy.”

 A volunteer prays during a special drive-in Eid prayer at the Ottawa Mosque on Saturday.