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Home / India News / Covid-19: This Eid, no ‘gale milana’, no prayer gatherings, no handshakes

Covid-19: This Eid, no ‘gale milana’, no prayer gatherings, no handshakes

The historic Gandhi Maidan in Bihar, after more than 90 years, will not host any Eid prayers in view of the pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing.

india Updated: May 23, 2020 22:59 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
People seen at shops open for business ahead of Eid ul-Fitr festival at Jama Masjid in New Delhi.
People seen at shops open for business ahead of Eid ul-Fitr festival at Jama Masjid in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Under the shadow of the coronavirus, the states across the country are taking special precautions to mark Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that breaks the month long fast for Ramadan. This Eid there will be no shaking of hands or no warm embracing for Muslims because of the stringent social distancing.

Depending on the sighting of the moon, Eid celebrations will begin either on Sunday or Monday. But prayer gatherings, outdoor festivals, and other public events have been curtailed or cancelled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Kerala government has allowed shops and markets to open till 9 pm on Saturday and on Eid certain relaxations have been announced. Usually, full lockdown is in force on all Sundays but it has been eased a bit this time. Short movements are admissible but crowding will not be allowed. Many clerics have asked believers not to crowd mosques and follow directives of the administration.

“True, mass prayers are integral to Eid. For believers, it is painful to miss them. But the situation warrants so,” said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan while greeting Muslim brethren on the eve of the festival.

In Karnataka, there is a dichotomy with coastal areas of the state bordering Kerala observing Eid-al-Fitr and Khutub- E- Ramzan on Sunday and rest of the state observing it on Monday. There is a statewide curfew which has been imposed on Sunday and the Hilal committee as well as the Waqf board has appealed to people not to gather for ‘Salat Al Eid.’ The Rakat prayers will also be held indoors and there will be no congregation, said a Hilal committee release.

Government officials say that shopping is allowed till Saturday 7 pm as mandated in the SOP, no assembly will be permitted on Sunday.

In Chhattisgarh, prayers will be offered in the mosques, but no more than five people will be allowed.

“No congregation is allowed during Eid and we have appealed that celebrations should be done inside the house. We have also appealed not to spend money on shopping and purchasing. Instead, the money should be distributed among the poor and sufferers in this crisis,” said Shehar Qazi of Raipur, Mohammad Ali Farooqi, adding that appeal to follow social distancing has been made in the festival.

The Superintendent of Police, Raipur, Arif Sheikh, said no congregation is allowed in the city.

The historic Gandhi Maidan in Bihar, after more than 90 years, will not host any Eid prayers in view of the pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing.

Gandhi Maidan Eid Namaaz committee chairman Mahmood Alam and secretary Maulana Misbahuddin said that since 1925, this will be the first time in 2020 that the Gandhi Maidan will not have Eid prayer.

He said the tradition of Eid prayer at the Gandhi Maidan had been started by one Salim Rine after getting the order from Patna’s Collector. Gandhi Maidan has so far witnessed over 40,000 prayer meetings, while chief minister Nitish Kumar has also been part of quite a few.

There will be no shaking of hands or no warm embracing this year, because of the stringent physical distancing norms imposed by the government.

“You won’t notice the typical “gale milana” (wishing each other with warm embracing) this year. The festive atmosphere would be missing this Eid. Fighting the dreaded virus and saving humanity is more important than celebrating Eid,” said Mufti Anwar Ahmed, a religious preacher from Jamia Nizamia, Hyderabad, said.

He said Muslims have to perform Salat-al-Duha or Namaz-e-Shukrana (Islamic prayers) within their homes and greet each other. “There shall be no public gatherings to greet one another as has been the practice in the past because of the lockdown restrictions,” the Mufti said.

On the call given by Ulemas and Muftis from all schools of Islamic thought, the Muslims in Hyderabad have been offering Taraweeh prayers at their homes during Ramzan month.

In Uttar Pradesh too this Eid will be like never before with lockdown in place and appeals from both Shia and Sunni clerics to keep it a low key affair and instructions to offer Eid namaaz indoors.

Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, chairman of Islamic Centre of India and imam of Aishbagh Eidgah, has appealed to Muslims to avoid the crowd and celebrate the upcoming Eid festival at their homes while following social distancing norms issued by the Centre in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

“I had also requested the community to avoid ‘Alvida namaz’ (prayer offered on last Friday of Ramzan) at mosques in view of the pandemic and I am happy that they followed also,” said Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali.

The usual celebrations were missing in Kashmir too as very few people could be seen in the markets. Sheikh Ashiq, president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce Federation and Industries, said that Eid used to be a big business activity. “Ahead of Eid businessmen used to get different items in bulk and sales for the Eid used to cross between Rs 300 to 500 crore.’’

He said that for the businessmen it used to be a big stimulus. “Our losses are vast if we compare from lockdown to lockdown.’’

Nawab Malik , Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister, too on Saturday urged people not to gather in basements, parking areas, or any other place to offer prayers during Ramzan, saying social distancing is the need of the hour.

“Our religious leaders already urged people not to violate lockdown rules and to contribute in the best possible way to fight this challenge. Muslim community will not demanding any exemption and ready to celebrate Eid without any gatherings,” said Malik.

(With inputs from state bureaus)

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