Muted celebrations, mixed feelings as Muslims observe Eid worldwide amidst the threat of CoronaVirus

Muted celebrations, mixed feelings as Muslims observe Eid worldwide amidst the threat of CoronaVirus

All over the world, Muslims are celebrating the Eid-ul-Adha which is one of the two major celebrations in Islam. However, this year’s celebration has its own issues being celebrated amidst the raging CoronaVirus pandemic. For many Muslims, the Eid without the large congregational prayers will be the first in their lifetime. From Africa to Asia, Europe to Australia, the celebration is a representation of different strokes for different folks as Muslims celebrate a low key holiday in a decade. This is due to the rising cases of the victims of the disease. As at today, the world’s total number of cases stood at 17. 3 million with over 600,000 deaths worldwide  

Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world. It is one of the two largest economies in Africa and has a huge number of Muslim Faithful majorly occupying the Southwestern and Northern  regions of the country. With more than 40,000 cases of the Coronavirus disease, the federal and some state governments have placed bans on large congregational prayers which usually mark the festive period. The national government declared Thursday 30 and Friday 31, 2020 as public holidays but stated that celebrations have to be low key, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has said. Mr. Aregbesola, according to Premium Times, advised Nigerians to take responsibility against the spread of the COVID 19 virus and also to stay safe by observing physical and social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene, as well as other regulations issued by relevant authorities. 

For most Nigerians who have never witnessed the Eid without large congregational prayers and the merry making that accompanies it, this government ban on public gathering and eid prayers did not go down well with them. Habeebah Odusoga, a journalist with an online outfit in Lagos said “I don’t feel good about it at all. We prayed at home this morning. But the merriment isn’t there like it used to. I miss the Eid merriment and the usual drama preparing for Eid.” Similarly, Dr. Ibrahim Abdulsalami, a university lecturer in Osogbo had a more philosophical attitude towards the situation. He said “the religious situation seems changing amidst the current world pandemic. Although the usual crowded eid praying grounds are empty, the essence of the celebration remains intact (or has improved) in the minds of the believers. All of these are happening because of Covid-19 pandemic. 

In Taiwan, a Chinese territory with a Muslim population of around 60,000, the congregational prayers are allowed. According to reports monitored from Taiwan News, Muslims across Taiwan attended the mass Eid prayers in five locations in the cities of Taipei, Hsinchu, Kaoshiung and Taichung. Worshippers are, however, directed to observe social distancing or wear face masks in cases where the distance could not be kept. The designated mosques are instructed to check temperatures of worshippers and should not admit anyone with a temperature exceeding 37.5 Celsius. Taiwan is one of the countries with the lowest number of COVID 19 cases in the world. As at the time of writing this, the country has a total of 467 confirmed cases with 441 recoveries and 7 deaths.   

Kenya is an East African country which is largely Christian dominated. This year, and for the third year in a row, the Muslims would be observing a holiday for the Eid Adha, a policy introduced by President Uhuru Kenyatta and gazetted by the Interior Ministry on Thursday. According to a report from Capital FM, Kenyan Muslims are to celebrate the Sallah with minimal person-to-person contact due to the COVID 19 pandemic. “In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, and in fidelity with the Resolutions of the Fifth Session of the National and County Governments Co-ordinating Summit, all ceremonies in celebration of Idd-ul- Azha will be marked with minimal person to person contact,” the Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred  Matiangi has declared. Already, there is partial lockdown in Nairobi, Mombasa and within Nairobi’s Eastleigh. At the time of compiling this report, Kenya’s COVID 19 stats stood at 19, 913 cases, 8,121 recovered cases and 325 deaths. 

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