For Jamaican Muslims Ramadan Is Not The Same This Year

Jamaica Central Masjid

The Jamaica Gleaner ran a story highlighting the challenges of Jamaica’s 6,000 Muslims practicing faith in the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Ramadan is the 9th month in the Muslim lunar calendar in which healthy adult, healthy, non-traveling Muslims are mandated to fast from sunrise to sunset.  During the daily fast the body is denied its need for water, food, sexual relations, reprehensible acts, and focus on individual/community prayer, reflection, and introspection.

Michael and Sharon Gillett-Chambers perspectives are highlighted in the Gleaner’s story. 

“Michael, a Jamaican, and Sharon, a Trinidadian, operate the popular baby supplies retail store Simply Halal and mostly worship at the Central Masjid on South Camp Road in Kingston. But the government statute bans gatherings exceeding 10 people.

“It’s the first time ever I’m experiencing a Ramadan like this. Ramadan is our beloved month. It is an exciting month for us … ,” Mrs. Gillett-Chambers said.

“As Muslims, we pray together, we touch shoulder to shoulder, so with the social distancing in effect, we can’t do that.” 

the family misses fellowshipping with believers at the Masjid, especially for Iftar, the dinner that ends the daily fast in a country that has become a melting pot of Muslims from Guyana, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Jordan, and Palestine.

“Different families put on the Iftar dinner, and so you may go to the Masjid today and it’s a Pakistani cuisine, you may go tomorrow and it is an African cuisine. Muslims look forward to the month of fasting, and I have spoken to so many Muslims that I have seen since Ramadan, and everybody is, like, almost in mourning. They miss it so much!” Mr. Gillett-Chambers said.” reported in the Jamaica-Gleaner.

You can read the full story in the Jamaica-Gleaner here.