Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

A man performing the prayer before breaking his fast. During the Islamic month of Ramadan Muslims neither eat nor drink anything from dawn to dusk. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, New York City. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 15,2021

The Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, a place of worship for Shia Muslims, opens for Ramadan service once again.

Just a six minute walk from Jamaica’s Van Wyck stop off the E train in Queens, sits one of the largest Shia Muslim centers in New York City.

Last year the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation had to be closed down due to COVID-19. The community was not able to congregate during the holy month of Ramadan. 

But the center  has reopened with limited capacity so devotees can attend sermons, pray as a congregation and break their fasts together, all while following pandemic precautions.

 

People entering the building before the start of congregational prayers. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, New York City. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 30, 2021

Allama Abid Bilgrami, a Shia religious scholar narrates the tragedy of Karbala, a  very significant event for Shia Muslims.  Their third Imam and grandson of Prophet Muhammad was killed in battle along with many members of his family. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, New York City. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 14, 2021

Ali Raza and his grandson, Ali Hassan Naqvi pick up a block of clay “Turbah”. During prayers Shia Muslims prostrate upon earth (clay) or anything that grows on earth such as grass or wood (except for minerals). Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, New York City. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 14, 2021

Blocks of wood and a clay disc called a “Turbah” were set up by a child who is sitting nearby. During prayers Shia Muslims prostrate upon earth (clay) or anything that grows on earth such as grass or wood (except for minerals). Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 14, 2021

Waqar Ali cries while he listens to the tragic events of Karbala. The atmosphere of the entire congregation becomes somber. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 15, 2021

Azazhar Hasnain performs the obligatory Ablution “Wudu” (washing of the arms and the face) before performing a prayer. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 15, 2021

Sheikh Fadhel Al-Sahlani leads the prayer before breaking fast. Following precautions to prevent COVID-19 the congregation is praying with gaps between each person; under normal circumstances it is obligatory for people in the rows to stand almost shoulder to shoulder. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 18, 2021

Shabbir Husain Musliwala prostrates on “Turbah” while he performs Salah. During prayers Shia Muslims prostrate upon earth (clay) or anything that grows on earth such as grass or wood (except for minerals). To prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 people wear masks inside the prayer hall. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 14, 2021

Congregational prayers are performed in limited capacity following COVID-19 preventive measures. The marks on the carpet guide people where to stand during the prayer. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 15, 2021

A man reads a chapter of the Quran before the start of congregational prayer. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 14, 2021

Abdel Krem (seated), and Aslam Ajani put rice and gravy into takeout containers. After prayers are completed, volunteers will distribute a meal of salad, rice with gravy, soup, and dates to the congregation so they can break their fasts. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 14, 2021

A man breaks his fast. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 14, 2021

After the end of congregational prayers, people leave the main prayer hall for the basement where they will receive a meal to break their day-long fasts. Imam Al-Khoei Foundation, Jamaica, Queens, NY. Photo by Hassan Abbas. April 18, 2021


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