As the holy month of Ramadhan entered the fifth day on Wednesday, people have started adapting to the new scenario against the backdrop of lockdown.
“Of course, we are missing on the many traditions and facilities associated with the month. Despite difficulties we are strictly following the restrictions and precautions as they are aimed at a noble cause”, said Hamed al Wahaibi.
For the 70-year-old retired defence official, even though it is depressing that mosques are closed and gatherings banned, he is optimistic the restrictions will slow the pace of the infection and the quarantine requirements could be reduced by Eid al Fitr.
“What is more important is to defeat the pandemic for which all are praying at home. We all want to do more worship to get rid of the anxiety”, he said.
Hamed said that people are adjusting to the changed scenario although the believers are sad at their inability to attend community prayers like taraweeh.
One of the most significant practices of Ramadhan, taraweeh is a congregational prayer performed after the evening prayer at every night during the fasting month.
“Due to COVID-19, we are encouraged to focus on individual prayers and turn isolation into inner peace. Even though the practice is to line up at the mosques side by side and offer the prayers, we are missing out on this front”, said Sayyid al Harassi, owner of a mobile shop in Ruwi.
With the ongoing pandemic, Ramadhan is not the same. A lot of community activities have been curtailed. The celebratory mood, which is normally seen after the fast is broken, is not there, he said.
Sayyid, who is also in his 70s, said that as far as he knows, it is unknown whether Ramadhan or any festivities were ever affected this way in the past.
“We do know that there have been major pandemics of this density that has brought the entire world to a halt in the past. We also do not know what the scholars or authorities did during that time,” he said.
Ramadhan usually brings joy to the people as they begin preparing for a month of charity, family, and worship.
“Socially, people are now deprived of traditions like swapping dishes between community members, or hosting and attending any community gatherings,” said Lukman Masoud.
The Egyptian teacher said the days appear longer with fasting duration is almost 14 hours. People now know they have to come to terms with the situation and try to cope with restrictions.
Rashid al Balushi, a civic official said, “People are coping well. They understand restrictions are for their own good and the community's. Nobody is complaining."
He added that it is important to defeat the disease for which the community members were doing their bit.
Despite the fact that all are getting adjusted to the changed scenario, many people are facing financial hardships due to the lockdown.
Many expat workers are hit badly that even they find it difficult to make both ends meet.
“Even during Ramadhan, apart from fasting and prayers, we used to do a lot of work and earn a livelihood. But everything has come to a halt due to the pandemic”, Mohamed Sainuddin, a Bangladeshi national.
With all construction work stopped and movement of people restricted, most workers have no income at all and are now at the mercy of the charity institutions and voluntary workers.