This year Ramzan, which began amid coronavirus pandemic lackluster compared to previous years. The Islamic holy month usually witness faithful throng to mosques to seek the blessings of Allah.
People categorically gather to perform special prayer known as ‘Taraweeh’ during Ramzan nights. Huffaz (those who memorise the Quran) recite holy verses with a soul-stirring rhythm, leads the taraweeh.
Generally Ramzan brings a sigh of relief for huffaz who earn augmented income during holy month. But, with the COVID-19 countrywide lockdown in place and with mosques shutting doors to congregants, the situation seems bleak.
Tanvir Azmi, Imam at Faizan-e- Ashraf mosque located in narrow bylane of Lulla Nager, Pune expressing the grief for not getting chance to recite Quran this year said, “The honorarium from the masjid would help in buying ration and also pay fees for one of my school-going child. This is the first time in my life that Ramzan will be so subdued.”
Imams are paid a pittance, a few thousand a month. During Ramzan, when they go to different masjids, they are paid for reciting the Quran in its entirety for which they get an honorarium of approx. Rs 5,000 to 50,000 depending on the funds pooled from the mosque goers.
Hafiz Ejaz Ahmed, 30, a resident of Bihar, who, since last 5 years comes to Bazme Ahbaab mosque near Worli bus depot in Mumbai to lead Taraweeh prayer said, ”I had hoped to repay the loan I took for my orphan sister in laws marriage but unfortunately it didn’t materialise this year due to lockdown. Now I don’t have any other mean to repay except to wait for next year Ramzan”.
Explaining the situation of huffaz, who double up as Taraweeh imams, Rafique Kazi, trustee Madrasa Arabia Faiz Muhammadi Wai, Maharashtra said, “Imams associated to mosques do get regular though mearge income, so they have lots of hopes attached to the honorarium given in Ramzan but their hopes are shattered this year”.
While urging the people to come forward in support of Huffaz and Imams, he said, “People have already spent beyond their capacity to help the needy during lockdown but they should also be mindful about this financially weaker section of the society who not only had lost their whole year income but their hopes too”.
These huffaz do not have any common platform but people can support their local mosque hafiz who was leading Taraweeh every year. The mosque may be closed but the door of goodness is always open, concludes Kazi.