The head of Bosnia’s Islamic Community called during his sermon on Sunday morning for spiritual and moral vigilance but also social awareness, particularly in times when the coronavirus is showing people how fragile they are.
The central Eid al-Fitr ceremony of the Islamic Community (IC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place at the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in Sarajevo, where Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic delivered his sermon.
The holiday, locally called Bayram, marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting which Muslims around the world spend abstaining from food, drink and intimate intercourse from dawn to sunset. Ramadan is known for feasts with family and friends after sundown but this year the coronavirus prevented such gatherings and kept the faithful away from mosques.
“We will remember this Ramadan by the great challenge that befell us. We were confronted by a tiny virus, invisible to the naked eye, which showed us with its aggressiveness how weak and powerless we are,” Kavazovic said.
Kavazovic reminded of the importance of faith but added that “there is no faith without work, nor piety without charity.”
“Because what would our prayer mean to God if our life in faith was deprived of charity and justice in the community? Formal belief without empathy for the weak, poor, and orphans has little value in Islam. Faith requires of us spiritual, moral and social vigilance,” he said.
However, nobody should be forced to believe, as forcing someone into religion represents “spiritual murder, desecration of God's will, and that is the prohibition of professing one's faith as well,” he said.
Societies are filled with all kinds of wounds but healing them cannot be done in a rough way, Kavazovic said, urging people to remember to be polite even to those who are mistaken.
In addition to spiritual and moral vigilance, Muslims must be aware of the social dimension of the community and show the necessary level of social vigilance, he said, explaining that this means protecting society from irresponsible individuals, but also protecting individuals and their rights within the community.
“An organized community, in which freedoms are respected and moral principles are respected, in which the burdens of social life are evenly distributed, can successfully motivate its productive part and successfully protect weak members,” the religious leader stressed.
“Social vigilance is especially important in times of crisis and disturbance. Today, it is important to protect people's health and preserve work opportunities,” he added.
Kavazovic argued that this has been particularly visible in the past three months when human health had to be protected but now “we need to do more to renew social life, to work and earn in the circumstances in which we are.”
“We are pleased with the measures that are being introduced to protect jobs, and we are saddened that many people are losing their jobs,” Kavazovic said.
Now is also the time to try to preserve social trust, he said, urging courts to “prioritize cases of embezzlement allegations in state institutions,” that have caused an uproar among the population.
“Trust in state institutions is crucial in all times, especially in times of crisis,” Kavazovic said.