Eid Al-Adha celebrated around the world amid pandemic

  • 5 days   ago
Eid Al Adha celebration
Muslims marked the first day of Eid Al-Adha across the world on Friday while abiding by guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In many countries, worshippers performed Eid prayers wearing face masks and observing social distancing in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic.
 
In Saudi Arabia, worshippers performed prayers at designated mosques including Makkah’s Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. People brought their own prayers mats with them and disinfectants were available in all mosques.
 
 
COVID-19 has temporarily put a stop to several Eid traditions, including that of embracing fellow worshippers after prayers. “We offered prayers while maintaining a distance and greeted (each other) verbally,” said Zakir Khan, an Indian expatriate in Saudi Arabia.
 
Many Muslims have been particularly hard hit by the need to stay away from elderly relatives, who could be especially vulnerable to the virus. Rahaf Meer, 26, told Arab News that this necessity had “ruined the spirit of Eid,” explaining that her family had divided its members according to their age to avoid high-risk groups being exposed to the younger members of the family.
 
“My aunt arranged a gathering just for the elderly (and) my parents are attending the gathering. We weren’t invited because my grandmother is there and we can’t hug or say hello to her,” she said. “I miss her so much.”
 
Donna Abudawood, 23, said the atmosphere in her home, at least, is still celebratory despite the fact that the pandemic has limited family visits and prevented her from traveling to celebrate Eid with her sister, who lives overseas.
 
“Since the reopening of mosques in the Kingdom, we have been strictly following precautions,” Tauseef Ahmad, a health informatics analyst at King Saud University, told Arab News. “At Eid, we refrained from shaking hands and hugging, as these steps are necessary to check the spread of the virus.”
 
Iffat Aabroo, a housewife in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Instead of social gatherings, we connected online with family members and close friends. Hopefully things will come back to normal soon, and we can get together on big occasions.”
 
Aya Karim, a 17-year-old Syrian student, said: “It is sad that we cannot spend this Eid with our extended families.”
 
The pandemic has also forced many people to turn to the Internet to buy livestock to sacrifice instead of visiting cattle markets in person, or to simply not make a sacrifice this year. Fahad Siddique, a 31-year-old Pakistani living in Jeddah, listed several things he could not do with his family this Eid. “Because of coronavirus, people couldn’t go for Hajj, they couldn’t travel either, and I couldn’t do my sacrifice this year as I do every year,” he said.
 
In Jerusalem, residents came out in large numbers early on Friday morning to offer Eid prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Sheikh Azzam Khatib, director of the Jerusalem Waqf Department, told Arab News that he was pleased with the turnout. “I was happy to see Jerusalemites and we tried our best to use all of Al-Aqsa Mosque and urged people to stay outdoors and to adhere to health guidelines,” he said.
 
Wasfi Kailani, executive director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Arab News that, to the Muslims of Jerusalem, this Eid was very different, taking place as it did amid COVID-19 restrictions and increased oppression by Israeli authorities, who arrested Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith in July and have extended his remand until Thursday.
 
Palestinian Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Fadi Hidmi admitted the situation in Jerusalem was very tense, with dozens of Palestinians having been barred from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque on religious occasions including Eid Al-Adha.

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