PHOTOS FROM THE GROUND: Eid Adha with our muslim foreign workers

Sep 12, 2016 08.29PM |

by Najeer Yusof

FOR the past four years Muslim foreign workers from the dormitories along Kian Teck Avenue have been gathering along the pavements to pray the Eid Adha prayers. Since the nearest mosque is quite a distance from their dormitories, they have decided to organise their own prayers, just outside their dormitories.

There are about 2,000 Muslim foreign workers and a total of three different groups organising the prayers. Each group prays at a different time slot to cater to the population. TMG observed the group that conducted their prayers along Kian Teck Cresent. They began laying the canvas and setting up the sound system at around 6.30am and the prayers commenced at 7.30am.


SERMON: The sermon for Eid Adha prayers are read from this book. They are in Arabic and come with Bengali translations. Two sermons were read out for the Eid Adha prayers. These sermons are similar to those read in all the mosques in Bangladesh.


SOUND SYSTEM: A speaker secured to the trunk of a tree using raffia string. The Imam, who leads the prayers, wears a microphone set around his neck, as he delivers the sermon and the prayer commands. There are two speakers placed along the street to magnify the Imam’s dictation for the huge turnout of foreign workers. About 1,000 Muslim workers joined the prayers today and that has been the average turnout.


NEW CLOTHES: A fellow worker ties a turban around the cap of his friend before heading for prayers. The wearing of the turban around the cap was a practice of Prophet Muhammad. Turbans have been worn by the Arabs even before Islam was adopted and the turban is worn in a reversed manner, with excess cloth hanging at the back of the turban for shielding’s one’s face during sandstorms.


THE IMAM: Mr Mohammad Botchan, 26, has led both the Eid Adha and Eid Fitr prayers for four years. He has memorised the entire Quran, as part of his Islamic Studies in Bangladesh. After his parents passed away, he had to support his siblings and decided to come to Singapore to work as the pay was better. Since Islamic Studies would not land him a job in Singapore, he acquired the skills of piping and welding in Bangladesh. He came to Singapore in 2009 and has been working for Alpha Engineering Private Limited, in Keppel Shipyard, for seven years. “Anyone can come and pray. The police watch us every day, as we conduct our daily prayers here too, but there is no problem. The Singapore Government also understands that we are only conducting prayers and not misleading anyone. We just want to encourage our fellow men to continue practising the teachings of Islam and not be misled,” said Mr Botchan. Mr Botchan was able to get his siblings married off after coming to work in Singapore and plans to get married in Bangladesh after his work permit expires in July.


ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS: Muslim foreign workers crying as they ask for forgiveness. After the prayer, the Imam leads the rest with asking for forgiveness and seeking blessings. This portion is done with the cupping of both hands as a symbol, and one can ask God for anything he wishes.


‘EID MUBARAK’: Muslim foreign workers from the first group embracing one another after the prayers and wishing each other a blessed Eid Adha, as the second group, also about 1,000 strong, prepares for their prayers. There were two groups led by different Imams and they led their prayers at different time slots, one at 7.30am and another at 8am. The different time slots were to cater for the huge population of Muslim foreign workers from all the dormitories along Kian Teck Avenue.


MEALTIME: Muslim foreign workers from the first group enjoying a meal together after the prayers. One of the fellow workers prepared the meal in the morning before the prayers. The meal was served in huge round plates and the workers sat in groups of fives, around each plate.


All images by Najeer Yusof.

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