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By Zahoor Bilali on

Remaining connected during Ramadan in lockdown

The global pandemic has meant that this year’s Ramadan has been unlike any before. Zahoor Bilali writes about some of the ways in which Bradford Grand Mosque have approached this challenge.

This is also an opportunity to revisit the museum’s collaboration with Bradford Grand Mosque which formed part of last year’s Above the Noise exhibition. Sound artist Alex De Little and others created ‘Connecting Through Listening: Islamic Sounds in Bradford’. This immersive experience provided an opportunity to focus and reflect on the characteristic sounds of Islam, blending contemporary recordings from the Grand Mosque with pre-existing material and personal reflections. You can hear extracts from this soundscape below.

Alex De Little · استمع (astamae) – Connecting through Listening: Islamic Sounds in Bradford

This weekend, Muslims around the world will join together to celebrate Eid. Below, Zahoor Bilali from Bradford Grand Mosque explains how technology has been used to approach the important challenge of staying connected during this time.

Ramadan has always been a time of togetherness and a month that is rooted in connecting to God and the world around us. However, due to the social lockdown, Muslims have had to forgo many cherished communal rituals and rethink connection while staying apart.

With mosques also closed, community organisations have used technology to meet the challenges of remaining connected with their congregation.

Here at Bradford Grand Mosque, we too decided to take some of our services online to help fill the spiritual void.

Bradford Grand Mosque
Bradford Grand Mosque. Photo by Tim Smith

1. Dhikr

Pre-Covid, each Thursday the mosque would welcome over a thousand visitors for the weekly ‘Dhikr’ gathering; a devotional act of invoking and repeating special prayers and phrases in Remembrance of God. This is now aired on Mixlr and via the Live Broadcast feature in the Bradford Grand Mosque App.

2. Suffa on Stream

The ‘SuffaOnStream’ series is by far our most innovative effort since the lockdown began.

This series is a collaboration between our supplementary school and the Grand Mosque scholars and graduates. It came about to help us keep in touch with our supplementary school students by offering a ‘digital assembly’ to replace the weekly assembly we would normally have at the school.

A new episode is released every Friday on the Bradford Grand Mosque Facebook page with students from the school also actively involved in production and delivery of the videos—from home!

Also, among the other segments in the series, the final segment entitled ‘Covid-Decoded’ welcomes a British Muslim scholar to deliver advice and guidance on selected topics relevant to the current situation with Covid-19. This is episode three of six we have released thus far.

3. Ramadan Bitesize

The mosque released 4 new videos as part of the ‘Ramadan Bitesize’ series to mark the historic events that took place in the month of Ramadan. The videos were released on the Bradford Grand Mosque YouTube channel.

4. Ramadan app

Similar to previous years, the mosque also included a dedicated ‘Ramadan’ section that provides some useful info on Ramadan including Fast Opening/Closing Timings and some other resources on the Bradford Grand Mosque app.

In addition to the above, the Grand Mosque continues to remain connected with its full-time and part-time students by teaching online via tools such as Skype, Zoom and other similar mediums, while our social media team also continues to play their part.

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