Sunday Aug 1, 2021
Sunday Aug 1, 2021
nepalnews Nepalnews

Published by Nepalnews Pvt Ltd
Acting General manager: Saurav Gurung
Editor: Raju Silwal
Information Department Registration No. 1505 / 076-77

Muslims mark Eid al-Adha holiday amid Pandemic


Nepalnews
2021 Jul 21, 10:59, Cairo
Muslims offer prayers during the first day of Eid al-Adha, outside the iconic Haghia Sophia in the historic Sultan Ahmed district of Istanbul, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Thousands of Muslims attended dawn Eid al-Adha prayers in Istanbul. Photo: AP

 Muslims around the world were observing Tuesday yet another major Islamic holiday in the shadow of the pandemic and amid growing concerns about the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus.

Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is typically marked by communal prayers, large social gatherings, slaughtering of livestock and distributing meat to the needy. This year, the holiday comes as many countries battle the delta variant first identified in India, prompting some to impose new restrictions or appeal for people to avoid congregating and follow safety protocols.

The pandemic has already taken a toll for the second year on a sacred mainstay of Islam, the hajj, whose last days coincide with Eid al-Adha. Once drawing some 2.5 million Muslims from across the globe to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the pilgrimage has been dramatically scaled back due to the virus.

This year’s hajj has been limited to 60,000 vaccinated Saudi citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday, pilgrims wearing masks and maintaining social distancing performed the symbolic stoning of the devil in the valley area of Mina — using sterilized pebbles they received ahead of time.


Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers in the village of Salem, near of the West Bank city of Nablus, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Muslims offer Eid al-Adha prayers in the village of Salem, near of the West Bank city of Nablus, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha

“This is (a) very, very, very big moment for us, for me especially,” said pilgrim Arya Widyawan Yanto, an Indonesian living in Saudi Arabia. He added that he was happy he had the chance to perform the pilgrimage. “Everything was conducted under very strict precautions.”

Yanto said he hoped for the pandemic to end and for all Muslims to be able to perform the pilgrimage in a safe way.

Indonesia marked a grim Eid al-Adha amid a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, also an influential Islamic cleric, appealed to people to perform holiday prayers at home with their families.

“Don’t do crowds,” Amin said in televised remarks ahead of the start of the holiday. “Protecting oneself from the COVID-19 pandemic is obligatory.”

The surge in new cases is believed to have been fueled by travel during another holiday — the Eid al-Fitr festival in May — and by the rapid spread of the delta variant.

In Malaysia, measures have been tightened after a sharp spike in infections, despite a national lockdown since June 1. People are banned from traveling back to their hometowns or crossing districts to celebrate. House visits and customary trips to graveyards are also banned.

Healthy worshippers are allowed to gather for prayers in mosques, with strict social distancing and no physical contact. Ritual animal sacrifice is limited to mosques and other approved areas.


Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha
Photo: AP
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha Photo: AP

Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah has urged Malaysians not to “repeat irresponsible behavior,” adding that travel and celebrations during Eid al-Fitr and another festival on the island of Borneo led to new clusters of cases.

“Let us not in the excitement of celebrating the Feast of Sacrifice cause us all to perish because of COVID-19,” he said in a statement.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin urged Muslims to stay home. “I appeal to you all to be patient and abide by the rules because your sacrifice is a great jihad in Allah’s sight and in our effort to save lives,” he said in a televised speech on the eve of the festival.

The World Health Organization has reported that globally, COVID-19 cases and deaths had climbed after periods of decline, with the reversal spurred in part by the delta variant.


Muslims gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, that commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's faith in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Eid al-Adha marks the end of hajj.
Photo: AP
Muslims gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, that commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's faith in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Eid al-Adha marks the end of hajj. Photo: AP
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha
Photo: AP
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha Photo: AP

Lockdowns will severely curtail Eid al-Adha festivities in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two largest cities.

Sydney resident Jihad Dib, a New South Wales state government lawmaker, said the city’s Muslims were sad but understood why they would be confined to their homes with no visitors allowed.

“It’s going to be the first Eid in my life I don’t hug and kiss my mum and dad,” Dib told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Iran on Monday imposed a week-long lockdown on the capital, Tehran, and the surrounding region as the country struggles with another surge in the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported. The lockdown begins Tuesday.

Not everyone is imposing new restrictions. In Bangladesh, authorities have allowed an eight-day pause in the country’s strict lockdown for the holiday that health experts say could be dangerous.

British Muslims were celebrating in the wake of coronavirus restrictions being lifted in England this week, but against the backdrop of surging infections that are forecast to increase even further as the country opens up.


Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha

“Eid is about sacrifice, and Muslims, just like everyone else, have had to make huge sacrifices over the past 18 months, staying apart when normally you would come together,” said Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who recently tested positive for COVID-19. “There are brighter days ahead,” he said in a video message.

Eid al-Adha recalls the Quranic tale of Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith and his willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of submission to God.

In Egypt, Essam Shaban traveled to the southern province of Sohag to spend Eid al-Adha with his family. He said ahead of the start of the holiday that he planned to pray at a mosque there on Tuesday while taking precautions such as bringing his own prayer rug and wearing a mask.

“We want this Eid to pass by peacefully without any infections,” he said. “We must follow instructions.”

Shaban looked forward to pitching in with his brothers to buy a buffalo for slaughtering, going door-to-door to give some of the meat to the poor, and to the traditional festive meal later in the day with his extended family.

“It’s usually boisterous with laughter and bickering with the kids,” he said. “It’s great.”

But others will be without loved ones.

In India, where Eid al-Adha starts Wednesday, Tahir Qureshi would always go with his father for prayers and then to visit family and friends. His father died in June after contracting the virus during a surge that devastated the country, and the thought of having to spend the holiday without him is heartbreaking.


Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, that commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's faith in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Eid al-Adha marks the end of hajj. 
Photo: AP
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, that commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's faith in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Eid al-Adha marks the end of hajj. Photo: AP

“It will be difficult without him,” he said.

India’s Muslim scholars have been urging people to exercise restraint and adhere to health protocols. Some states have restricted large gatherings and are asking people to observe the holiday at home.

Meanwhile, the pandemic’s economic fallout, which threw millions of Indians into financial hardship, has many saying they cannot afford to buy sacrificial livestock.

In Indian-controlled Kashmir, a disputed, Muslim-majority region, businessman Ghulam Hassan Wani is among those cutting back.

“I used to sacrifice three or four sheep, but this year we can hardly afford one,” Wani said.

A herd of goats walk through the streets ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, at Kiamaiko market in the Huruma neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya Monday, July 19, 2021. 
Photo: AP
A herd of goats walk through the streets ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, at Kiamaiko market in the Huruma neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya Monday, July 19, 2021. Photo: AP
Palestinian woman prepares sweets ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, in the West Bank city of Nablus, Monday, July. 19, 2021. 
Photo: AP
Palestinian woman prepares sweets ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, in the West Bank city of Nablus, Monday, July. 19, 2021. Photo: AP
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha
Muslims young and old gather for prayers to celebrate Eid al-Adha
Islamic holiday Muslims Delta variant

Additional News

Editor's Choice

Nepal's First Online News Portal
Published by Nepalnews Pvt Ltd
Acting General manager: Saurav Gurung
Editor: Raju Silwal
Information Department Registration No. 1505 / 076-77

Contact

KMC-02, UttarDhoka,
Lazimpat, Nepal

Newsroom
+977–01–4445751 / 4445754

E-mail
info@nepalnews.com editor@nepalnews.com

Terms of Use Disclaimer
© NepalNews. 2021 All rights reserved. | Nepal's First News Portal