May 20, 2020
Guest blog by Huma Qadeer.
My name is Huma Qadeer, and I want to share my experience as an Ahmadi Muslim woman during lockdown in Luton.
I am married and blessed with five children aged between 8 and 18 years.
It has been a month in now in lockdown, and we have come to terms with being at home.
We have adopted a habitual practice of doing daily things at home like cooking, eating and praying together.
I guess a positive/uplifting outcome of this is we are having good quality family time together. This is an eye-opener and has shown us to appreciate what we took for granted.
On Fridays, rather than going to the mosque we have adapted to a regime of praying and listening to the Friday Sermon live on TV which is lead by the spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Community. My husband and my eldest two sons will take it in turns to lead the prayers as Imams, reading a short sermon followed by prayers in congregation. Thus, further enhancing the family’s Islamic understanding, which is beneficial and valuable.
Now that Ramadan is fast approaching, we will encounter a new way of living. Normally we would convene every evening at the local centre to read our prayers (Taravee), and on weekends we would get together as a community to share food and open our fasts together (Iftar). This is an act of building close relationships and bonds. Being deprived of that will be a very disparate experience and loss. But we will continue to read our congregational prayers at home.
We have by the grace of Allah become healthier and united even more as a family. It is a blessing to have a big family where typically our lifestyle is often busy and challenging and now to make time for each other. Now we are eating all meals together, instead of only one beforehand.
Our community has organised a range of diverse classes on social platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, catering for all age groups, which keeps them all busy.
My youngest son is eight years of age and has two classes a week which he’s learning the correct pronunciation of the Holy Quran and gaining general knowledge. He is able to talk to a teacher for advice on all different subjects.
My 10-year-old daughter has classes about Islam, art and on learning the Holy Quran. Likewise, my eldest two sons also have two classes according to their age group of 10 to 15 years.
Myself and my eldest daughter who is 18 years old have classes too on health and fitness, Quran and arts and craft. Personally, my favourite is arts and craft as daily we are given a word, which enables us to express ourselves in whatever way it means to us. So, writing a poem, drawing, painting, etc. then we share our experiences via WhatsApp.
All these classes were normally kept face to face, but we have reconciled ourselves to this unprecedented way of life that we are in at the moment. It’s a blessing that we have all these classes and also many volunteers that have given their time to help and uplift community spirits.
Our ladies of the community are keeping busy by continuing to care about the welfare of their neighbours, friends and the other ladies of the community. A buddy system was devised where we can make sure everyone is taken care of. We have assigned roles in getting shopping for the vulnerable, calling in to ask about their welfare and also caring for our local communities such as food bank donations and providing face masks sewn by our ladies.
As an Ahmadi Muslim, we are taught to be charitable and during Ramadan, we see it as a perfect opportunity to continue to be more caring and to reflect and better on ourselves. The best way to do this is through reading and understanding the Holy Quran and conducting prayers which enables us to get closer to our creator.
I will not be able to go and see my parents since they live in London, and I’m sure I am not the only one as we are all experiencing this for the first time. This is an emotional challenge and to be honest a very difficult one.
With prayers and the help of our Almighty Allah, we will get through this challenging time and will see each other very soon. Ameen.
God willing, I pray this is soon.