Her Excellency Paula Mae Weekes ORTT, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. (Image: Office of the President)

President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weeks, believes that despite the challenges and hardship wrought by the current COVID-19 pandemic, “that joy will still abound as families exchange gifts, prepare meals and give thanks to Allah” as Muslims in this country, and around the world, observe Eid-ul-Fitr.

In her message to the nation on the occasion of Eid this year, Her Excellency observes that the Muslim Community has remained steadfast in faith, “adapting and adjusting commendably to the existing restrictions”, which the pandemic imposed on the globe.

President Weekes pointed to the fact that Muslims in T&T continued to exemplify key principles behind the spirit of Ramadan, with their compassionate overtures of generosity to those most vulnerable citizens hardest hit by the crisis, truly heeding the call to be “their brother’s keeper”.

The full text of the message from Her Excellency, follows…

MESSAGE FROM HER EXCELLENCY PAULA-MAE WEEKES ORTT, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, ON EID-UL-FITR 2020

Fellow citizens, today, Muslims across the country and around the world celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”. Eid marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, prayer, charity and contemplation. Although many of the traditional rituals and practices have had to be curtailed or modified as a result of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, it is heartening to see that the Muslim community has remained steadfast in faith, adapting and adjusting commendably to the existing restrictions.

For the past month, measures necessary to curb the spread of the virus have prevented customary gatherings at masjids and community halls, where Muslim devotees usually meet, pray, and break their fast daily. Despite these challenges, the spirit of Ramadan prevailed as Muslims continued to exercise the values which underpin Islam—generosity, compassion, brotherhood and self-discipline. Our Muslim compatriots set the bar high for the rest of the national community as they prayed, fasted and listened to virtual sermons at home and heeded the call to be their brother’s keeper, exemplified the tenets of their faith and helped to ease the burdens of countless citizens.

They supplied individuals and families hard-hit by the crisis with hampers and other essentials, contributed towards the iftars of those in need, and encouraged their members to adhere to the guidelines issued by the competent authorities.

Although present circumstances prohibit the traditional festivities this year, I have no doubt that joy will still abound as families exchange gifts, prepare meals and give thanks to Allah. At its core, Eid has always been a family affair, as people share life and draw strength from one another. The successful completion of sawm, the obligatory fast, remains a further source of jubilation and fulfilment.

As we ease our way out of this crisis, let us strive to take pattern from our Muslim brethren—their community spirit, empathy, and self-restraint—being guided by the teaching of the Holy Qur’an, which declares:

“And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.” (Quran 2:272)

I wish the Muslim community a safe, happy and healthy Eid. May Allah accept and reward your efforts.

Eid Mubarak!

Image courtesy Office of the President.