Lockdown Chronicles: 7 Nigerians on their struggles with religion and spirituality in isolation
“One… thing religion gives us… in modern society is a sense of community… I miss that.”
Lockdown Chronicles is a diary series, in which Nigerians unpack the realities, multi-dimensional struggles and the little victories they experience while dealing with an unprecedented pandemic which suddenly disrupted the life we were used to.
When you consider how state governments relaxed laws so Christians could celebrate Easter and to allow Muslims go for their Friday prayers, you realise how much we Nigerians love our two major religions, and how real the struggle is, being kept away from practicing religion in the organized fashion we’ve become so accustomed to.
Because it is a subject that touches all and sundry, we chose to find out how people have been dealing with the [radical] changes they’ve had to make to the way they approach their religious activities.
You see, our religion is very communal. Almost all the important things to be done as a Muslim are mostly tied around community.
Before Corona, I’d go for daily prayers, mosque, just hanging out with your guys there… yeah, that was it pretty much before corona virus.
Take for example, this evening, I went out for a walk, and while on the walk, I saw the Imam [of my mosque]. He is about my age mate and we just greeted each other and moved, we didn’t want to do all that stop and catch up. I realized that I had not seen him in like four weeks. Someone I would see daily on a norms. You get?
To be honest, I’d say yeah, I have withdrawal symptoms of sorts. And it’s less about the activities of the mosques and more about the communion. One of the things that religion gives us more than anything in modern society is a sense of community. And yeah, I miss that.
Sincerely I really don’t miss church because God is everywhere. I have been doing online church. So I ain’t missing so much. I only miss my church members and worship sessions. I just enjoy that atmosphere. I can’t create such in my room cos I have no drums, no piano etc. So I miss worship sessions. Church or no church, growth should take place, and I think I am better cos I have more time to grow myself spiritually.
As for the word of God from my Pastor, no difference sha. But now, nah encouragement we dey hear now.
I love going to church and all. But honestly, I don’t think I miss it. When it reopens, I will gladly go back and remain as regular and steadfast as I have been over the years, but I think I don’t mind the rest.
The online church wey we do make sense laidat abeg. Of all the things I miss about going out, going to church is not one of them.
My spiritual life has been fine. Not going to the mosque has in no way affected it. Because as a Muslim woman, I am not mandated to always go to the mosque. So, I pray at home and do all religious activities at home.
Prior to this time, my relationship with Christianity wasn’t really intense, just pretty basic. I’d go just Sundays. Because of the church I attend. We only meet on Sundays and then on WhatsApp on Thursdays.
But that has changed a little because of coronavirus. So on Sundays, our services are broadcasted on more platforms – IG Live, MixL, etc. And now the service is shorter. Before it used to be about 2 hours 30 minutes, now it’s about one hour and we no longer have two services.
Personally I don’t think my spiritual lifestyle has suffered any dip. I’m still as close to God as always. I really don’t think much has changed for me. My church has pretty much been digitized before now. For example, we don’t even give offerings in a basket, we would normally transfer. So not much has really changed.
Religion in isolation has actually been OK for me. As a woman I don’t need to go to the mosque and all so it’s the same except Jumat (Friday prayer) and Abd Sallah prayer. Well, I guess all in all, it goes okay. You kinda blend with the situation
Maybe I am not the best person to ask sha because I am not much of a practicing Muslim like that. I identify as one o, but I am still trying to be regular with prayers and all that.
Sha, one thing I can say is that, I am scared for how fasting will go inside this lockdown. I will definitely join in the annual fast so yeah, this one really touch me. I don’t even know how we will do it.
*Some subjects’ words have been slightly edited to enable article flow and easy comprehension.
Also, CLICK HERE to read more about what Nigerians are up to in Isolation, and how many are feeling about this epic change to their lifestyles.