The Coronavirus Pandemic is feared to be a major concern on the minds of many as the entire Muslims all over the world celebrates this year’s Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of one month long Fasting period. It is believed that as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the manner and nature of this year’s Eid Celebration would be different.
Meaning of Eid Al-fitr
Eid al-fitr also known as the Muslims festival of completing the compulsory one month fast, marks the end of the 9th month of the Islamic Hijra Calendar called Ramadan, the month in which the Glorious Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him).
Fasting during the month is one of the five pillars of Islam. Traditionally as Muslims bid farewell to the month of Ramadan, they also prepare for the Eid Celebration which usually takes place on the first day of the succeeding month.
Eid el-fitr Celebration commence with Muslim families partaking in communal post dawn prayers followed by short sermon. The prayers usually take place in an open space to accommodate large number of worshipers, though a large mosque can also be used if there is any hindrance to doing it in an open ground. The essence is to ascertain the population growth of the Muslim Ummah in a given society as compared to the preceding years.
After the two Raka’at prayers people usually take time to congratulate one another as traditions demands. They exchange pleasantries with distant relatives and neighbors to show appreciations to Allah for the privilege of being alive to observe the Ramadan fast. This is preceded by the giving of alms to the poor known as Zakatul Fitr, required to be paid by every Muslim at the completion of the month of Ramadan as a token of faithfulness to Allah for haven enabled him/her to observe the obligatory fasting of Ramadan.
How Coronavirus Pandemic Affects Eid ul-Fitr
The occasion will be greatly affected this year by the Coronavirus Pandemic as Nations around the world take measures to curb the pandemic amongst which includes the suspension of Eid prayers, Outdoor festivals and other celebratory events during the festival. In Saudi Arabia for instance, the ground Mufti had asked Muslims to pray at home instead of going to the mosque to prevent the spread of the virus among people.
A recent statistics according to Johns Hopkins University shows that there are more than 5 million known cases of Coronavirus and 333,400 people who have died of the virus globally. This year no doubt is going to witness a low keyed celebration as the usual visit to friends and relatives may not take place due to the social and physical distancing measures put in place by authorities to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Muslims should remember that it is the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) that when there is a pandemic everyone should stay where they are, those within the city or town where the pandemic occurs should remain in their location, while those outside should not come in.
This should clearly rest the argument for the reopening of worship centers and observance of Eid prayers when Covid-19 cases where still on the rise among countries. With the ravaging nature of the virus Muslims should show understanding with the leadership at various levels.
The Way Out
Happily, various clerics have advised that families can observe the prayers at home in situations like this citing relevant sections of the scriptures and Prophetic teachings. Moreover with the advancement in technology the internet and other means of communications can be used in reaching out to loved ones and friends without physically visiting them.
Where the authorities have given permissions to observe the Eid prayers the use of face mask must be strictly adhered to alongside other precautionary measures recommended by the health authorities.
Consequently as Muslims the world over celebrate the festival to mark the end of Ramadan Fast, it is believed that the supplications of the faithfuls are accepted by the Almighty Allah and would serve as an antidote for the quick end of the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.