No Eid jamaat (congregation) was held at the National Eidgah Maidan this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Muslims in Bangladesh are celebrating their biggest religious festival Eid-ul-Fitr in the unlikeliest of situations as the country along with the world ceased all social activities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Eid has always been a time of forgiveness and praising Allah for helping devotes complete their month-long spiritual fasting and celebrated by families gathering together.
But this year, Eid-ul-Fitr is being celebrated without any outdoor program and Eid congregations at Eidgah grounds across the country on Monday as most Muslim majority countries, including Bangladesh, around the world have called on their citizens to limit their movement and face to face contact during this year's celebrations.
No Eid jamaat (congregation) was held at the National Eidgah Maidan this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, National Mosque Baitul Mukarram held its first of five subsequent Eid congregations at 7am in the morning.
Last week, the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a public notice, saying: “Islam encourages performing Eid prayers at Eidgahs (an open-air enclosure reserved for Eid prayers). But, considering the health safety, worshipers are being instructed to perform prayers at mosques, following social distancing. If necessary, more than one jamaat will be arranged at different time slots.”
“Apart from this, all the health guidelines must be followed by the devotees, if failing, government authorities and police will take legal action,” according to the public notice.
Covid-19 has killed 480 of its victims and infected over 33,500 people in Bangladesh since the outbreak of the deadly virus began in late 2019. The ongoing pandemic has killed over 346,688 people globally until Monday.
Govt directives on Eid prayers
The government has urged devotees to avoid Eidgah or other open places for congregations and instead offer prayers at mosques following recommended health advice, reports UNB.
Devotees have been urged to bring prayer mats and scalp caps from home and wear masks. Besides, arrangements should be made at the entrances of the mosques for washing hands.
Children, elderly people, people with physical ailment, and those who are involved in taking care of the sick will not be allowed to attend the Eid prayer.
Devotees have been requested to shun handshaking and hugging after the prayer, a common practice throughout the Muslim world.
However, thousands of people have already left the capital to celebrate Eid with their families at their village homes ignoring the risk of coronavirus infection.
President, PM greet nation
In an address to the nation on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged all to celebrate the occasion staying home and enjoying time with their families.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina greeted the countrymen as well as the Muslim devotees on the occasion. They also issued separate messages praying for peace, progress and prosperity of the country and the Muslim Ummah.
President Hamid said Eid creates a bond of harmony, amity and unity among all. “Let the teaching of Eid-ul-fitr spread among all and build a prosperous Bangladesh,” he said urging the solvent people to stand beside the poor.
In a separate message, Prime Minister Hasina said this time we are celebrating Eid in an unusual way as coronavirus has paralysed the whole world.
“Don't get infected. We sincerely thank all the health workers, doctors, nurses, policemen, law enforcers, armed forces and others who are risking their lives to save the lives of the people during this time,” she said.
The Prime Minister requested everyone to avoid public gatherings as much as possible “so that we can enjoy Eid at home and pray to God that we all get rid of this infection quickly.”
Television channels and radio stations will air special programmes on the occasion and the national flag will be hoisted atop government and non-government office buildings.
Special diet will be served at hospitals, jails, government children’s homes – Chotomoni Nibash – centres for persons with disabilities, shelter homes, orphanages, Vagrant Welfare and Destitute Welfare centres.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which has put in place a full curfew for the holiday period, will celebrate Eid on Sunday, authorities said on Friday.
The kingdom is the most affected among the Gulf countries, according to declared data, with more than 67,000 confirmed infections and 364 deaths from the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Most of the Middle Eastern countries, including Jerusalem, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Qatar and Lebanon, also celebrated Eid on Sunday.
Muslims in many areas in Bangladesh observe and celebrate various religious events on the same day as Saudi Arabia.