Ghana predominantly is a Christian community with over 70% of it’s population being Christians. The people of Ghana practice intertribal and interfaith marriages but still cohabit peacefully making Ghana one of the peaceful countries in the world.
Our lives are guided by the teachings of the Holy Bible and the Quran the two dominant religious books across the country. Christians belief in the birth and death of Jesus Christ, who they believe is the only begotten son of God sent to die to save mankind. The Muslims believe in Mohammed, the Last messenger of Allah, Allah the Supreme being who reward and punish men according to their deeds.
Even though at times there are conflicting ideas and beliefs among these two dominant religions, Ghanaians still have a reason to exist peacefully. Peace is the watchword of every single Ghanaian born within the remit of the country.
Ghana as a country has over thousands of churches and mosques spread across it’s length and breath with the sole aim of winning souls for God or Allah. Churches in Ghana are categorised in to Orthodox, Charismatic and Pentecostal. The orthodox churches are believed be the first Churches brought by the colonial masters and it comprises of the Catholics, Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian among others. Many of the Pentecostal and Charismatic were born from the Orthodox churches.
Churches and mosques alike gather in their numbers on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to worship to give thanks to their maker. These meetings sometimes afford them the opportunity to meet one another to socialize given the constraints their daily work routines have on them.
Then came the Covid-19 Pandemic which have condemned the world to factory default. It is evidently clear that given the contagious nature of the virus, mankind have to rephrase the popular saying from “Together we Stand, Divided we Fall” to “Divided we Stand, Together we Fall” by placing the ban on social gathering among other precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Every aspect of human lives have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to the core and our churches and mosques have not been left out. The churches and mosques arguably is among the places large crowds of people converge each passing day.The way of worship especially for the Charismatics and the Pentecostal is really intensive, clapping, dancing, worshipping, deliverance services where men of God places their hands on the congregation to either bless, cast out demons, heal them among many other reasons. Social distancing is something that cannot be achieved with this way of worshipping God hence the closure of Churches and mosques in Ghana.
Churches and mosques have to evolve and resort to virtual way of worship. In as many years one could remember, the 2020 Easter was observed with people on locked down in their homes. The Conventions that precede every Easter festive was abandoned to the disappointment of the millions of the Christian folks.
The people of Kwahu, a tribe in the Eastern region of Ghana, see Easter as a ritual. Easter was the official homecoming for these score of people. They travel across the world to Kwahu, Ghana to celebrate the Easter. They line up activities to mark the festivities in a flamboyant style. The Kwahu people of Ghana somewhat have to be disappointed for the first time not to observe this ritual in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Muslims on the other hand see their Friday worship, Jummah as one of the important foundation of their religion. They converge in the mosques every Friday in their numbers to worship Allah. They believe in group worship and believe that there is an accompanying blessings in the Jummah prayers, hence every Muslim in the world partake in this Friday worship. This cannot be done now.
This is very unusual but it is inevitable given the disaster that awaits mankind outside of our homes.
For the very first time in the lives of Muslims post WW2, they have to observe Ramadan, a very important pillar in their calender on a lock down. Unable to break the fast in the mosque to give thanks to Allah. Ramadan is the Holy month on the Muslims calender where they abstain from food, drink, sex and anything unclean for 29 or 30 days. This month is observed by every single Muslim bar the young, old and sick.
The Ramadan is followed by Eid, where Muslims gather in their numbers to offer prayers to Allah for answering their prayers and guiding them through the Holy month of Ramadan. The Eid is greeted by merriment where they eat and drink after fasting for 30 days. The Muslim youth line up various activities to mark this day to share their happiness to the world. All these fanfare and jamboree will be nonexistent in 2020 given the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be weird to know that our Muslims brothers and sisters will be deprived of the chance to converge on parks to offer the Eid prayers and the youth the chance to party because of the ban on social gathering. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is very daunting to say the least.
It is evidently clear given the above narrative that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected every facet of our lives. The inability for Christians to fellowship in churches but rather through virtual media is very surreal in our part of the world. Churches and mosques leaders have to resort to radio, TV and social media as a way of getting in touch with their members. It is worth knowing that, the excitement to fellowship among people is worthwhile and not even social media, TV or radio can replace that despite suggestions by people that this a new way to go going forward.
Our churches and mosques have contributed to the socioeconomic discourse of the country. Most churches have built schools, hospitals, roads among others as their way of contributing to the development of Country. The Muslim community have paid their dues as well by the building of schools, hospitals and provision of water to deprived communities in Ghana.
Most of the developmental projects these churches undertake come partly from tithes, offerings, harvests and donations. Without people going to church, it would be difficult for the churches to continue with these projects which in the long run affect the development of the country.
Normally, the busiest place in the world at this point in time would be the Saudi Arabian consulate, they would be reviewing Visa applications by prospective pilgrims of Hajj. Ones in a life of every abled Muslim, he/she must make the pilgrimage. Muslims from across the world pilgrim to Mecca the Holy land to offer prayers to Allah. Ghanaian muslims converge at the El-Wak stadium and other designated places to wait their turns to embark on this Holy pilgrimage. All these have to be cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic. Airlines would have been the beneficiaries of these travels as well local food vendors and hawkers.
The Covid 19 pandemic have brought the world to it’s knees. Nobody predicted this at the start of the year. But it is here with us and it has blown the world away. Our lives have been affected in so many ways unimaginable. The typical Ghanaian life without dressing up to the mosque or church on Friday, Saturday or Sunday is very alien to us but it is inevitable given the dare consequences the virus would have on the human race if our Churches and mosques were still opened for worship since these two places of worship would be the hot-spot for infection.