Eid ul-Fitr will be celebrated in India on Monday, May 25 since the moon could not be sighted on Saturday night, which was confirmed by the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Ahmed Shah Bukhari. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there shall be no mass namaz at mosques all over India since the government has prohibited all religious gatherings. For Muslims across Kerala, however, where Eid is being celebrated today, Sunday began with an unusual celebration of Eid ul-Fitr: unlike in the past, most of them made it a private and a closed-door affair on account of lockdown norms in place to combat Covid-19.
Muslim clerics on Friday said the moon had not been sighted. But the 30-day Ramadan was to end on Saturday, so the clerics declared that Eid-ul-Fitr in Kerala would be celebrated on Sunday, which also coincides with the celebrations in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf regions. In a usual circumstance, Eid would have been celebrated with thousands of devout Muslims participating in open prayer sessions at specially erected Eid-Gahs at playgrounds and auditoriums. The community members would also have visited their near and dear ones with rich food being served throughout the day.
One of the country’s tallest Islamic scholars, Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliyar, who is currently the Grand Mufti of India and also the President of the Islamic Community of India, has wished people well but had a word of caution for them.
“The world is facing one of its worst times as a pandemic has caused untold miseries to all. At this time of crisis, we should spend more time in prayers. This is one day when we should abide by the orders of the authorities to enable us to combat Covid-19. All of us should pray that the world recovers from this crisis,” said the Grand Mufti.
The supreme leader of the Indian Union Muslim League, Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal, in his message, said as the world is going through one of its worst crises, the day should be used for prayers for those who are going through tough times.
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Even as the lockdown norms continue to be strict, and despite it being a Sunday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan allowed slight relaxations. Shops selling meat and fish were open in the morning for a few hours.
Muslims residing in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi are also celebrating Eid ul-Fitr today in a subdued manner in the wake of the total Sunday lockdown in the region due to the Covid-19 regulations.
Mangaluru wore a deserted look from the morning and all the shops were closed, following strict instructions from the district administration to check Covid-19 spread. Only a few vehicles transporting goods were seen on the roads.
People confined their festivities inside their homes, as mosques remained closed with the restrictions imposed on public gatherings for prayers.
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Many mosques in Kerala carried out online live streaming of prayers with Muslim clerics addressing the faithful. People are celebrating by offering prayers at their homes as mosques are not open to the public.
In Palayam Juma Masjid, prayers were led by Imam VP Suhaib Moulavi who urged people to stay home and pray to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People across the world are suffering due to the pandemic and many have died. This Eid, we have to pray for them all. Instead of venturing out we have to celebrate Eid inside our homes and can exchange greetings using the scope of social media,” he said while addressing the faithful online.
In Kozhikode and Malappuram, where Eid is usually celebrated in a big way, it was subdued this time as the Eidgahs were not open due to lockdown. While, in Malappuram, people offered Namaz at their homes on video calls together. In Kozhikode, people exchanged greetings through group video calls where family members couldn’t return from abroad. Kochi saw a low-key affair with mosques including Padamugal Juma Masjid and Vennala Juma Masjid remaining closed.
“The whole world is still struggling due to Coronavirus. In the meantime, the holy Ramzan has also arrived. Earlier, people used to gather in mosques to recite the Quran and offering Namaz, but since the month of Ramadan began, people have been praying at their homes while obeying instructions of the government,” Azeez Sahib, Imam of Padamugal Juma Masjid said.
“Also, in this Ramzan, we should help each other, especially those who are struggling in the pandemic. We need to move forward by helping everyone,’‘ Sahib added.
The Eid prayers consist of two rak’ahs and an extra number of ‘takbeers’. Takbeer refers to when Allah Hu Akbar meaning God is the greatest is said to begin the prayer and one raises the hands to their ears. During normal prayers, ‘takbeer’ is said only once, but for the Eid prayer, you have to say ‘takbeer’ 12 times in two rak’ahs.
In mosques, the Imam delivers the khutbah (sermon) of Eid, however, that is not allowed when the prayer is performed at home.
— with inputs from IANS, PTI, ANI