The Dawoodi Bohras, a group of Shia Muslims from across York Region and the GTA, have adapted their Ashara Mubaraka commemorations due to COVID-19.
Ashara Mubaraka is marked as one of the most significant events in the Bohra calendar; before the pandemic, it was a period that would bring Bohras together for spiritual reflection.
This year, due to the circumstances, Bohras have decorated their homes to keep the spirit of the alive, and have been looking into sermons over Zoom which explore different themes such as humanity, justice, sacrifice, forgiveness and kindness.
This year, Ashara Mubaraka falls between August 19 to 28. During this period, cooked meals will be made in community kitchens, as part of the “Faiz al-Mawaid al-Burhaniyah” program, and delivered to the homes of those participating in commemorations across York Region and the GTA. This is also happening in all Dawoodi Bohra communities across the world.
Before the pandemic, this period was a time where Dawoodi Bohras would vie for the opportunity to host the meals at their place following the sermons.
“Normally, many Dawoodi Bohras from this area gather with thousands of others across the globe at a city chosen for the occasion by our leader, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, to listen to his sermons,” Shk Zoeb Galiakotwala, chief representative for the Dawoodi Bohra community of Toronto, said.
“This year will be different, but no less important, as we instead observe Ashara Mubaraka at home with our families, following prayers and sermons online, just as we did during Ramadan in May,” Galiakotwala said.
Another spokesperson for the community, Shk Mansur Kanchwala, said students will take leave from classes in order to fully participate in the “sanctity of the occasion.”
“And we shall be decorating our homes with banners bearing verses from the Qur’an … in order to recreate the spiritual ambience of the masjid where we would normally congregate,” Kanchwala said.
Until the time comes when Dawoodi Bohras can congregate as a community at their local masjid in Richmond Hill, they said, they continue to pray and observe religious duties while following safety guidelines, keeping themselves and their neighbours safe and playing their part in the fight against COVID-19.