New Delhi: Eid Al Adha was celebrated on Saturday on a subdued note. People offered namaz (salat or prayers) at mosques as well as homes in the morning and exchanged greetings to mark the festival, following safety guidelines amid COVID-19 pandemic.
People avoided hugging each other after morning prayers at mosques - a tradition followed on festive occasions - to curb the spread of coronavirus that has infected 16,95,988 people across the country. On Saturday, a record 57,118 cases and 764 deaths were reported for the last 24 hours.
The people restricted themselves to ‘salams’. Citizens above 60 years, persons with comorbidities or asymptomatic and children below 10 years offered namaz at home as advised. There were no prayers at Eidgahs or in open grounds.
Earlier in the day, mosque care-takers disinfected the premises and surroundings before and after namaz. Most mosques saw prayers in two phases to ensure social distancing among the worshippers.
At most mosques, people who offered ‘fajr’ or pre-dawn prayers stayed back for Namaz-e-Eid, held 30-60 minutes after the sunrise.
Eid Al Adha or Bakrid as it is also known in India and Pakistan, is a major Muslim festival celebrated to commemorate the sacrifice by Prophet Ibrahim, who offered to sacrifice his son Ismail on the Allah’s command. The almighty, however, replaced Prophet Ismail with a lamb just as Prophet Ibrahim was about to slit his throat.
Calling upon the devout to imbibe Prophet Ibrahim’s spirit of sacrifice, Imams, in their sermons on the occasion, said the Eid’s message was that they should always be ready to surrender to the Allah’s will.
After prayers, Muslims offered sacrifice of ‘halal’ animals.
An individual can sacrifice a sheep or goat or may join six others to sacrifice a big animal. The meat of the sacrificed animal is distributed equally in three parts. The person making the sacrifice keeps one part for his family and distributes two parts among the relatives and the poor.
This year, the number of people offering sacrifice at homes came down due to COVID-19. To avoid the risk while buying the animal or hiring services of butchers, many either outsourced the job to traders or socio-religious organisations.
Many people preferred taking a ‘hissa’ or share in the cattle with the individuals and groups who organised a ‘ijtemai qurbani’ or collective sacrifice every year.
Community leaders said many people entrusted the task of distribution of meat among the poor to the groups arranging collective sacrifice. They wanted to avoid visits to relatives, friends and others to distribute meat due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the nation on the occasion of Eid Al Adha, urging people to enjoy the festival by maintaining social distancing and other norms.
“Eid Mubarak! Idu’l Zuha symbolises the spirit of sacrifice and amity, which inspires us to work for the well-being of one and all. On this occasion, let us share our happiness with the needy and follow social distancing norms and guidelines to contain COVID-19 spread,” the President tweeted. He also tweeted in Urdu and Hindi.
The Prime Minister expected that the festival would inspire people to create a harmonious and inclusive society. “Eid Mubarak! Greetings on Eid Al Adha. May this day inspire us to create a just, harmonious and inclusive society. May the spirit of brotherhood and compassion be furthered,” he said in his tweet.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted: “Greeting on the occasion of Eid Al Adha. May this day bring peace, harmony and prosperity in our society”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other Chief Ministers also greeted people on the festival.
The Jama Masjid and the Fatehpuri Masjid in Old Delhi attracted a sizable number of people for the early morning namaz.
Shahi Imam Mufti Mukarram of the Fatehpuri Masjid said, “People observed social distancing and wore masks in the mosque during namaz. The mosque was full, but the number was less than previous years, as people were not allowed to offer namaz on the streets.
“Eid Al Adha means Eid of sacrifices. We prayed for relief from the virus, peace and growth of the country and thanked the authorities to allow namaz in mosques with precautions against COVID-19,” he said.