My Eid with Chinese Muslims

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The author with a group of Chinese Muslims

By Syed Jawwad Razi,

I was charged with emotions, a barrage of them, as I got nominated for an official trip to the People’s Republic of China, a known communist country in the month of Holy Ramadan.
Though a great opportunity in terms of professional exchange of ideas and cooperation, I was apprehensive. How to spend the holy month of Ramadan away from home and family in a country not exactly known to be tolerant towards Islamic ideology?

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But astonishingly all my apprehensions proved otherwise, the moment I reached Kunming city on the eve of Eid, I was welcomed not only as an honoured guest but as the one among their own, with unimaginable warmth and affection. It was contrary to my expectations even though I was on a diplomatic visit.

My Eid started with a visit to the Shuncheng mosque, which is considered as an architectural wonder. The mosque was not locked or deserted as the negative media coverage back home would make many of us believe. It soaked in the resonating chants of Allah o Akbar, dispelling all the media humbug of a hostile aversion to the practice of Islam by the local government – quenching my thirst of spiritual interaction with my creator amidst fellow Muslims, on the special occasion of Eid.

The khutba sermon or the preamble of the Eid namaz was delivered by the Imam Liyongchun who orated on the topic of the essence of Islam in contemporary times. A dynamic balance between the life of here and hereafter by emphasizing on the need for peaceful coexistence, love towards one’s country and service towards one’s nation. As I was listening to his words full of wisdom, my thoughts drifted towards the disharmony prevalent in my country today due to misinterpretation of the concepts of Nation, co existence, theology and vision towards the future. Deep in my heart I was longing to be back in India to carry my experiences from here to share with my brethren back home.

In my interactions with many Muslims here, I was told that though they have freedom to practice the religion and their version of the local culture like any other minority community, they at the same time were discouraged to flaunt religion in public space and to treat it as a personal interaction with their creator.

I was blessed by many elderly people post namaz and I felt I had explored a home away from home here.

I thank Allah, for providing me this opportunity to widen my understanding about a range of issues which always grappled during self introspection.

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