COVID-19 in Big Rapids: Here’s What Muslims Did to Protect Community

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Michigan, the Islamic Center in Big Rapids was quick to close its doors and cancel prayer in mid-March 2020.  

The mosque managers also had to cancel Friday weekly prayers, as well as a weekly halaqah [gathering] for sisters, and put plans to launch a Qur’an and Arabic program for children on hold.

They also stopped tours offered in the mosque to people curious to learn more about Islam and Muslims.

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“COVID … has changed everything,” Sultan Abduljabbar of the Islamic Center of Big Rapids told AboutIslam.

“To make sure everyone stays safe, we had to cancel all activities,” he added.

In Michigan, COVID-19 numbers have been highest in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties – Wayne County being the county which contains the city of Detroit, and Oakland and Macomb housing the majority of the Metropolitan area.  

Defeating COVID-19

Big Rapids is the largest municipality in the Mecosta County and houses Ferris State University. Therefore, most of the Muslim community in the area are students.

Though the Michigan city has a population of just over 10,000, the pandemic changed the live of the Muslim population.  

“Big Rapids Muslim community is small,” Abduljabbar said.

“We have lots of students who are staying away from their family, [whether] overseas or across the state,” he added.

Due to these restrictions, things have been holding steady in Mecosta County.

“I think … Big Rapids control over COVID-19 was good,” said Abduljabbar.

“Since all classes went online at Ferris State University, it was really easy to prevent the spread of the disease.”

The data supports the mosque official. In Mecosta County, according to New York Times, as of 9/8/2020, Mecosta has had a total of 112 cases, accounting for only about 0.0028% of the population.

In comparison, Wayne County had a total of 32,303 cases as of 9/8/2020, 1.85% of the population was infected! This can also be compared to Oakland County’s rate of 1.48% and Macomb’s 1.55%.

It is going to take major efforts on the part of all of us in order to slow and eventually stop the spread of COVID.

Although activities at the Islamic Center of Big Rapids have had to grind to almost a complete halt, the community deserves applaud for doing their efforts to keep their community safe.

“And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.” (Quran 5:32)

About Leah Mallery
Leah is a Muslim convert of almost a decade. She has two kids, an intercultural marriage, and half of a French degree in her back pocket, looking to switch gears to science and medicine. She has lived abroad for over a decade, having just recently become reacquainted with her roots in America. She currently lives in Michigan near her family and – masha’Allah – a sizeable Muslim community.