People gather at Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque (Blue Mosque) in Dubai for Eid prayers on 21st August, 2018. This year, Eid prayers will be formed at home since mosques are closed due to COVID-19 pandemic. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Eid Al Fitr is a special occasion Muslims as it marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Apart from family gatherings, feasts and celebrations, congregational Eid prayers peformed soon after sunrise make it even more of a special occasion. Traditionally, Muslims gather in huge numbers in big mosques or grounds called Eid Mussallahs across the country to perform Eid prayers, which are led by an Imam.

However, this year, Muslims will have an exceptional Eid experience as they will have to offer Eid prayers at home since mosques were closed for congregational prayers as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus.

Eid is expected to fall on either May 23 or 24 depending on the moonsighting. The UAE moonsighting committee will meet on May 22 to look for the crescent moon to delcare Eid which is celerbated on fist of Shawwal, an Islamic month which comes after Ramadan.

UAE Fatwa on Eid prayers

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi, spokesperson of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, said: “As per the Emirates Fatwa Council, Eid Al Fitr prayers should be performed at home. Taking all precautionary measures to protect yourself and your family is a religious and national commitment.”

Important to know

Since Eid prayers come only twice a year (Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha), there is often confusion about how to perform this prayer. It is easy to follow the prayer when you are praying behind an Imam. Since people this year will have to offer Eid prayers at home, it is even more important to know how to perform this prayer accurately.

In a statement to Gulf News, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities (ICAD) in Dubai explained the process of performing Eid prayers at home.

When is Eid prayer offered at home

According to ICAD, Eid prayer is a confirmed and highly recommended Sunnah, and one that is preferably performed in an open space. “In the event that we are prevented from performing it in an open space in congregation due to fear of a pandemic, like COVID-19, then Eid prayers can be performed at home, individually, or together with your family members living with you in the house,” the statement added.

Eid prayer is performed the same way as it is offered in the mosques but there will be no Khutba (sermon), which is delivered by an Imam in the mosque. It is as simple as offering any other regular daily prayers.

How to perform

Eid prayer has two rak’ahs but it has extra ‘takbeers’ (takbeer is an Arabic word referring to when “Allah-u- Akbar” is said to start the prayer and the hands are raised to the ears).

In any normal prayer, you say only one ‘takbeer’ but for Eid prayer, you say ‘takbeer’ for 12 times in two rak’ahs, according to the procedure followed in the UAE.

You must say seven takbeers in the first rak’ah and then start reciting the Quran as you do in normal prayers.

You must say extra five takbeers in the beginning of second rak’ah and then complete your prayer as normal.

In mosques, the Imam delivers the khutbah (sermon) of Eid but it is not allowed while you perform the prayer at home. You can perform the prayer alone or with members of your family.

Live broadcast

The UAE government has also announced to broadcast live takbeer prayers 10 minutes before the Eid prayer time to keep up the spirit of Eid prayers.

The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai (IACAD) announced that Eid Takbeer will be broadcast through various mosques in Dubai on the morning of Eid. The broadcast during the current time will help revive the Sunnah and the community’s link with the mosques. Congregational prayers continued to be suspended in mosques, according a statement issued by the Dubai Media Office.

Mohamed Ali bin Zayed Al Falasi, Executive Director of the Mosques Affairs Sector, said that Eid Takbeer will be broadcast after the Fajer prayer for an hour before sunrise on the first day of Eid from the mosques’ minarets. The decision to broadcast Eid Takbeer comes in response to the Dubai community’s wishes.

Al-Falasi further said broadcasting the Takbeer will lift the community’s spirits amidst the current circumstances. Precautionary measures have been imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus and safeguard public health and safety, he stressed.

Al-Falasi called on citizens and residents to stay at home and abide by the precautionary guidelines issued by the authorities.