The Festival of Freedom – Shab-e-Barat

The Corona Virus Pandemic and the quarantine following it has been the biggest crisis India has faced in recent years. With shops closed and all travel services cancelled, people have been restricted to the four walls of their home. But these services are not the only thing that people are missing out on. The festivals falling in this quarantine period can no longer be celebrated with the same vigour from within your houses. Yet Indian’s have not lost the spirit and are eagerly looking forward to the arrival of Shab-e-Barat.

The significance of Shab-e-Barat

Shab-e-Barat is a Muslim Festival

The Shab-e-Barat is a Muslim festival celebrated on the 14th night of the month of Sha’aban, the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. The holiday marks the arrival of the Muhammad into the city of Mecca. This festival focuses on the importance of forgiveness. It is believed that it was on this night that the Allah said, “who wants forgiveness, I will forgive you. Who wants food, I will provide food.” Shab-e-Barat is one of the most auspicious festivals and is celebrated with pomp and vigour by Muslims across the world. Legend says that it is on this day that the fate of all Muslims is written for the coming year based on their deeds committed in the past.

Restrictions due to Quarantine

Ameen, Poster of Shab-e-Barat

This year however people will be forced to sit inside their houses and ironically celebrate the festival of freedom. Falling on the 8th and 9th of April in 2020, Shab-e Barat will not be rejoiced with the same enthusiasm as the years preceding it.

The festival usually sees people gathering at graveyards to pay respect to their families. This year all the graveyards across India have been shut down to the public. The Shia Central Waqf Board in Uttar Pradesh has asked the ‘Kabristan’ workers to light one lamp in front of every grave. Furthermore, all mosques across India have also been closed to the public. Muslims across India and the globe, have been asked to pray from home keeping in mind the spread of a deadly virus.

In the past few days, the Muslim religion has been maliciously targeted for the expansion of the disease in mosques in Faridabad. The actions of a few individuals have brought the wrath of the whole country upon a particular religion. The Shab-e-Barat is the ideal opportunity for people to show their contribution and support in this fight against the Corona Virus. The Shab-e-Barat allows each individual to be free and the Muslims in the country would love to be free from the false and unjustified accusations.

The Spirit of Festivity amidst Lockdown

Temple to Visit on Hanuman Jayanti

As it turns out, 8th of April is an important date for not only Muslims but also Hindus across India. The festival of Hanuman Jayanti incidentally falls on the same date as Shab-e-Barat and the hopes people are shattered. Not a single citizen would be able to celebrate these two festivals with the same drive and vivacity as last year.

Nevertheless, the quarantine has not completely destroyed the hopes of the people of the country. Video conferences and celebrations within the home will make sure that the festivals are celebrated with enthusiasm and dynamism. While dancing on the roads and visiting mosques won’t be possible, it is important to keep of the spirit of the festival alive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected may aspects of our life, but the unity of our community has proven that we can battle this disease. The vigour and enthusiasm of the people regarding the festivals is still alive and that is what matters. India has yet again proven that the harmony of the people in the country is more powerful than a mere disease. Each time the virus knocks us down, we come back stronger and better prepared.

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