NEW DELHI: “This is probably the first time in my life that I will not be able to offer my Eid namaz. We have spent the entire month of Ramzan praying for relief and an end to coronavirus. There won’t be any usual eid celebrations,” said Faisal (35), a businessman based in Delhi-NRC region.
Congregational prayers offered on the morning of Eid-ul-Fitr form the core of the festival which marks the end of the holy month of Ramzan. However, keeping in view of the lockdown measures community leaders and clerics have stepped-in to urge people to stay off-streets. Despite the relaxations announced in the fourth phase of lockdown, religious and other large gatherings are still banned.
Eid-ul-Fitr, known to many in India as “meethi-Eid” because of the sweet delicacies prepared on the occasion, will be celebrated on May 25 in the country.
The dates, however, may vary depending on the moon sighting. Which is why Union Territory Ladakh celebrated Eid on Saturday and clerics in Kerala have announced to celebrate Eid on Sunday. Most of the Gulf countries too will celebrate Eid on Sunday.
Given the importance of the congregational prayers on the occasion of Eid, religious figures have urged people to not flock to mosques.
Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a fatwa asking Muslims to offer their Eid prayers at home, instead of congregating at mosques.
The mufti of the Jama Masjid in Ghaziabad dedicated the entire sermon on the evening of ‘khatam shareef’ (the night when Quran recitation is completed during Ramzan) explaining people the procedure of how they can offer the Eid namaz at their home.
“Namaz is a big part of Eid celebrations. But we won’t be able to congregate this year. This is why Mufti Mahtab Alam Qasmi dedicated the khatam shareef sermon educating people on how to offer eid namaz at home. The sermon was live-streamed on YouTube and everybody listened to it from their homes,” said Masood, a Ghaziabad resident.
Clerics in Jalna, Maharashtra and Kolkata, West Bengal have also requested people to offer namaz at home on Eid-ul-Fitr.
With just one active case of coronavirus and zero casualties, festivities in Ladakh were sombre with people offering their prayers at home and markets lacking the hubbub of Ladakhis’ usual festivities.
Celebrations across India are expected to be earnest with community leaders urging Muslims to not spend money on annual ‘Eid shopping’ and instead help someone in need of food or other basic supplies.
Mohammad Ammar, an HR professional based in Delhi, started a social media campaign two weeks into Ramzan, spreading awareness about social distancing norms and urging people to expand their charity budgets this year instead of splurging on clothes, gifts and food.
“Eid is the festival of happiness and when you do good to others, it brings you true happiness. We started the campaign to request people to celebrate this Eid by doing good to those truly in need,” said Ammar.
Meanwhile, in the old Delhi area surrounding Jama Masjid, known for its Ramzan festivities with bustling eateries and markets, now has only limited shops open selling essential items.
The popular sewai shops exclusive to Old Delhi have been shut as workshops in Jafarabad and Inderlok that supplied sewai stopped production during lockdown and now workers, mostly migrants, have left for their homes.
Meanwhile, prominent Muslim body Jamaat Islami Hind (JIH) has also urged the government to exempt places of worship under the ongoing lockdown and allow people to perform their religious practices while maintaining social distance.
JIH also issued an advisory for Muslims on how they should offer the Eid prayer at Eidgahs, Jama Masjids and the local mosques but depending on how many numbers of people are permitted; otherwise, the advisory said that prayers can be offered at home.
JIH also urged people to avoid crowding the markets in the last days of Ramzan.