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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What Eid celebrations looked like amid covid-19 pandemic

Khoya khoya chand…The Eid ul-Fitr day begins with prayers, a sermon, exchange of greetings and sweets.

Written by Nagina Bains | New Delhi | Published: May 30, 2020 12:48:35 pm
India lockdown, india lockdown diary, Shramik trains, migrant labourers, Shramik Special trains, heatwave, lockdown diary, Indian Express That Eid ul-Fitr is also celebrated to pay respect to Allah for providing strength and endurance during the month-long fasting rituals. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

ISS Baari Chaand Bhi Kujh Udaas Tha’…is a sentiment that one is not accustomed to hearing on the moon night, the concluding day of Ramadan. But the feeling holds true not just for Munawwar and his group of friends as they pray for hope, but for Muslims across the world. This time the resonance of Allahu Akbar, meaning God is greatest, when devotees in thousands gather to surrender and pray was lost in the uncertainty of COVID-19. That Eid ul-Fitr is also celebrated to pay respect to Allah for providing strength and endurance during the month-long fasting rituals is also solace in these times and the festivity, if any, is a harbinger of hope. It is widely believed that Prophet Muhammad got the first revelation of the Holy Quran during the holy month of Ramadan.

Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of fasting from dawn to dusk during Ramadan and the beginning of the Shawwal month. Munnawar Khan, who runs butchery shares, “People are coming to buy, but the pandemic is a dampener on celebrations. We had never imagined that we will ever celebrate an Eid like this. The occasion is not just about iftar get-togethers, it’s about sharing the spirit of Eid with our loved ones and celebrating the day as a community.”

The Eid ul-Fitr day begins with prayers, a sermon, exchange of greetings and sweets. The apogee is a lavish spread of biryani, haleem, nihari, kebabs and seviyan. The traditions have been followed, but with social distancing. Sheikh Abdul Rouf, a Chandigarh-based entrepreneur who runs a Kashmiri crafts business says, “Ramzan is more than just the holiest time for Muslims, it is a period where they believe they can be better human beings and always strive to do their best in all endeavours. But this Ramzan was very different because of COVID- 19. There were no songs at suhoor to wake us, no iftar parties were organised, prayers were not held in mosques and charity was done from a distance to maintain safety. This Eid nobody in my family did any shopping, as all excitement has been overtaken by fear and we couldn’t even step out to wish our family and friends. But we have hope and we prayed for that hope to emerge.”

Popularly known as the Festival of Sacrifice, Eid-ul-Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham’s unselfish act of sacrificing his own son to the One God, Allah. The festival is believed to be a reminder of the mercy and benefits bestowed upon mankind. And that’s what each one of us has evidently realised in the pandemic.

Mohammed Taslim, a hairstylist and salon owner feels that these times have been an emissary for mankind. “Eid Mubarak had a message for all of us this time that we all need to appreciate and sacrifice for each other. If we couldn’t celebrate Eid, our brothers and sisters couldn’t celebrate navratras and Gur Purab either. We are all one now as we always should be. This too has been a will of nature and we all should respect it. Eid is not just about iftar and sharing sweets it’s about an inner realisation and we all should surrender to that.” The fact that Jalalludin Rumi titled his ode to Eid ‘bismillah’ has found its significance this Eid. To quote, “Say Bismillah, in the name God, as the priest does with a knife when he offers an animal. Bismillah your old self to find your real name.”

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