Monday 23rd March 2020
Dr. Amanullah De Sondy
Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam
University College Cork, Ireland
Social distancing has certainly challenged us to find new ways of drawing closer to the ones we love. Avoid visiting your mother was heard over and over again yesterday as we celebrated Mother’s Day. I watched Boris Johnson being asked if he was going to be seeing his mother over the weekend and the prime minister along with many others made a strong statement to love from afar. Our world has certainly been turned upside down. We celebrated the one who gave us life by adhering to the directive that staying away saves lives.
I was supposed to be in Glasgow this weekend to celebrate my own mum but decided to self-isolate here in Cork. Closer to mum, I read of a daughter in Edinburgh who was going to serenade her mother from outside her home with her three young children playing the xylophone, violin and French horn. And others all over the world, were sending video messages offering virtual love. Let us not underestimate the mental and physical burden social distancing will have on us. It is certainly a time to reflect on the relationships we do have and the memories of a different time. In a way, it gives me even more empathy for those who have lost their mothers.
Many Muslims find congregation and companionship at their local mosque but they have been advised to pray at home. A funny video is going viral made by a British Muslim comedian where a father tries to trick his way to the mosque or for a quick cuppa chai at his friends but is shouted at by his son to “stay home”. Finally the children getting to ground their parents.
This is the time where our focus on love and being loving will require extra discipline in order to hug and embrace, those we can, in the days to come when the specialness of touch is back in our lives.