A place of worship holds different meanings to different people. For me, it was a bubble of people with a shared belief, one that served as escapism and unity. Like with everything, I hadn’t thought of the weight a place of worship held in my life, until it was taken away. Typical!
Life before the pandemic is nebulous, in an over-glorified way. I can’t tell you the last time I was in a place of worship, but definitely pre-Covid. You have the avid attendee who never misses an event, be it religious or social, and on the other end of the spectrum, the individual who is not so regular but always attends the important services. I fall into the latter but whatever your attendance record may be, it certainly doesn’t take away from the significant role that a place of worship plays. You could agree even more so during these chaotic times.
The tornado that Covid-19 has proven itself to be has left no aspect of life untouched. The term ‘new normal’ definitely warrants our situation. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve seen two Eids and a month of Ramadan go by. These were my major occasions that would see me at the mosque. Never had I missed a single Eid prayer and I would without a doubt be praying into the night during Ramadan. Alas, this year things were different. Congregational worship was dangerous, a breeding ground for a deadly virus, which is contrary to what I’ve come to know congregational worship to be: a safe space, an opportunity for tranquillity and replenishment of hope.