Hundreds of Muslims across Barbados were able to come together as a community on Tuesday to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They assembled at the newly constructed Dar-ul-Fazal Musalla in Lowlands, Christ Church, built by businessman Fazal Juman, to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.
Muslim Chaplin of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Suleiman Bulbilia said it was important for Muslims to come together for Eid-ul-Fitr, especially coming out of the harsh COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Due to COVID-19 over the last two years, we have not been able to assemble like this for Eid in that period of time. What happened was that
immediate families got together, so for us, it is a very joyous occasion coming out of the COVID-19 situation,” he said.
“We are just happy to be back out because Eid is about community, Eid is about family, friends and relatives getting together, sharing food and sharing gifts; and coming out of the COVID-19 situation it is very joyous to celebrate Eid together.”
Juman’s daughter, Farzana Juman-Goodman, said the musalla, which has separate prayer points for women and men, was built for inclusivity.
“Barbados has over 4 000 Muslims in the island right now and my dad’s vision for this place [came about] because he has two sons and one daughter but was blessed with seven granddaughters, so for him, it was very important to build something where all of his family — wife, daughter, and granddaughters — can come and pray, a place where we can just worship and feel comfortable,” she said as she took the Barbados TODAY team on a tour of the musalla.
Ferozah Kothdiawala and her daughter Firhanna Bulbilia said they felt privileged to be able to come out as females to participate in prayers at Dar-ul-Fazal.
Bulblia added that she was pleased with the safe space Muslim women have for prayer.
“In Barbados, this Eid was particularly special because we now have this new facility where women and girls can partake in prayers. Throughout thenmonth of Ramadan, we saw many women come from all over Barbados to pray,” she said.
Imam of the Dar-ul-Fazal Musalla, Hanzalah Gangat said he was happy that Muslim families could come together for the special time of prayer and celebration.
“My main thing is bringing people together, uniting them as one – that’s my vision for 2022,” he said.
“The importance of people coming together for gatherings like this is that it [shows] we are all one, we come under one umbrella, and it is [good] when we see everyone gathering together.”
The Eid celebrations brought out just about 500 Muslims for the morning of prayer which climaxed with partaking of food provided by the families who attended. There was also a kids zone complete with horseback riding, jumping tents, henna painting, and an Amir’s Chicken mascot for the little ones. (MR)