Navroz Mubarak folk(ses).
Today marks a new year for Ismailis. Usually, this day comes with a whole lot of bells and whistles. Most of us buy or make new clothes for the day. Most families prepare a feast. People living in communities come together at Jamatkhanas to pray and celebrate. It is a mini-version of Eid for us.
This year, however, Jamatkhanas are closed and all gatherings have been suspended. There are no majlises or impromptu rasuras. In all of my 31 years, I have never seen Jamatkhana close its doors, and it feels surreal. Dystopian. And if it effects a nastik like me this way, I can’t imagine what it must do to people like my parents who go to Jamatkhana both at sunrise and sunset.
I know it is a difficult time and I am so so proud of all jamats for adhering to guidelines provided by local councils and jamati leaders. Every life matters, and if social distancing means saving someone from undue suffering, isn’t that just what our faith teaches us?
I have seen some people argue that they have faith and that they are going to mosques for God and that he will protect them. Their faith is supreme, and they are willing to risk getting infected for the love of God. He will protect them.
It baffles me as to how can one not see the flaw in this logic. Do you really think God needs you to come to a mosque to pray at the risk of your and others life? That your prayers would mean less if they were offered from the safety of your homes? I am no scholar but my common sense says that it won’t. They will mean just as much, if not more. You decided to do something for a larger good and that is what is expected of a wo(man) of faith.
This time, like every other difficult phase, shall pass as well. Jamatkhanas will open again and we will have feasts and rasuras too. But until it is safe, let’s listen to authorities and stay at home. Celebrate with families and share biryani’s aloo and boti with those who share the same roof. Navroz is still Navroz, just more private this year, but equally blessed.
Once again, Khushali Mubarak.