Our dear brothers and sisters,
We wanted to share some thoughts with you as we deal with this unprecedented time in our lives. We fully appreciate that all of us are concerned but we humbly request you to remain calm. As we confront this global pandemic, let us consider what this means for our Jamat, our families, friends, neighbors, and communities.
First and foremost, we need to take necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones until the situation improves, and life can return to normal. This means following the advice of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) which recommends limiting going to public places as much as possible; therefore, remaining at home is the safest option, particularly for seniors, and those with underlying health conditions. Your safety and security is of paramount concern for us and we are currently focused on monitoring the situation and how it impacts our Jamat, here and around the world.
As you are aware, the unusual step of temporarily closing all of our Jamatkhanas has been taken in order to contain the spread of the virus. This measure was taken only after considerable deliberation, and in compliance with state and county government restrictions, as these spaces of contemplation and prayer are integral to our faith, the heart of our community, and serve as places of solace and comfort, especially in times of distress.
While we have to limit physical contact with others, it does not mean social isolation — we don’t have to be disconnected from the rest of the Jamat, our families, friends, neighbors, and communities. Let us reach out to each other in the days and weeks ahead and keep everyone in our thoughts and prayers. We can make a commitment to call each other to ensure all are safe, offer comfort, provide assistance to those who need it, especially those who are elderly or living alone. We can take solace in knowing that we are not alone.
Spending more time at home also presents us an opportunity to strengthen our family bonds. We can engage with our children constructively, both in academic subjects, as well as reinforcing values we espouse. Plans are underway to provide access to education classes and other activities through online platforms, where possible.
While the physical space of a Jamatkhana is an anchor for us, we can still continue to pray and practice our faith at home or wherever we are, as our faith is a way of life. Beyond these spaces, the practice of faith should continue in our commitment to our ethics and in our spiritual search, as that will help to provide comfort at this time.
We know that there are those who may be facing difficulties as a result of this unusual situation that we are experiencing. Let us reach out to each other and assist one another as One Jamat. Let us heed advisories of our local governments, and when possible, let’s make ourselves available to help others in our wider communities to assist those in need.
Please know that we are here to assist as well.
If you are not already subscribed to receive updates through the Ismaili Insight, please subscribe at IsmailiInsight.org. Please also visit The.Ismaili/USA/COVID-19-Updates for updates on Jamatkhana closures and other updates including ways for us to remain connected. Together, we will, as One Jamat, and as citizens at large of our country and our world, overcome this difficulty and disruption, and, this situation will improve in due time.
With Navroz approaching, it is a time to look forward, with hope and optimism for a better future. We will still celebrate this important festival together, albeit in a different manner than we have been accustomed to in the past — as families, instead of as a congregation. We are creating programs and activities for children and adults, in which all may participate through online platforms.
We sincerely express our gratitude to you, for your understanding and support, and to our volunteers, who continue to illustrate exemplary service and leadership.
Please join us in praying for the good health, safety, peace, and a quick return to normalcy for us, our country, and humanity at large.
President, Ismaili Council for the USA
Chairman, ITREB USA