Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey celebrate Eid-ul-Adha with masks and social distancing

Muslims in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Malaysia, among other countries, are celebrating Eid-ul-Adha today amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected more than 17 million and killed nearly 668,000 people worldwide.

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Wearing face masks and getting temperature checks as a precaution, Indonesian Muslims performed morning prayers on Friday to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha in mosques with reduced capacity as well as on the streets.

As the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country struggles to contain the spread of the virus, worshippers were advised to maintain social distancing during prayers.

Indonesia’s religious ministry also asked mosques to shorten the gatherings this year, while many mosques cancelled the traditional ceremony where livestock is slaughtered and meat distributed to the community.

Instead, the donated sheep, goats and cows will be killed in abattoirs.

“This year’s Eid ul Adha is very different from the previous years because we need to follow health protocols as we perform prayers, like maintaining social distancing,” said Devita Ilhami, 30, who was at the Sunda Kelapa mosque in Jakarta.

In Saudi Arabia, Eid prayers were offered at Masjid-e-Nabvi and the Grand Mosque in Makkah after the pilgrims spent the entire night on Mount Arafat offering prayers in Muzdalifa.

The pilgrims moved to Mina on Friday morning where they will performing the stoning of the devil at Jamarat Al-Aqba, sacrifice animals, shave their heads and then leave for Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-Ifada and Sai.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan also extended Eid greetings to mark the festival.

“On the occasion of Eid Al Adha, we congratulate the UAE president, Vice President, Rulers, and people in the UAE. We especially extend our wishes to our frontline heroes, martyrs’ children and families. A blessed and prosperous Eid to all,” he said.

In Turkey, people gathered outside the Hagia Sophia for Eid ul Adha prayers, the first time it has taken place since the building was reconverted to a mosque earlier this month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his message on the occasion of Eid praised the country’s fight against the coronavirus and urged the citizens to abide by social distancing rules as they marked the festival.

“I wish Eid-ul-Adha may bring serenity to our hearts, well-being to our country and peace to our world. Eid Mubarak!,” Erdogan said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, this year we observe Eid-ul-Adha with grief since Hajj will be fulfilled in a limited manner due to the coronavirus pandemic. InshaAllah, next year, millions of Muslims will once again take to the Holy Kaaba and sacred lands with love, enthusiasm, and joy,” he was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday urged Muslims in his country celebrating Eid-ul-Adha to stay away from big gatherings.

An outbreak in the state of Victoria has been partly linked to family gatherings after the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his message said “Eid-ul-Adha was one of the most important Muslim holidays and a time to reflect on the lessons of sacrifice and the values of service, compassion, and charity.”

“On this important occasion, Muslims usually gather with families and loved ones to pray, share festive meals, provide food to those in need, and give thanks for the blessings in life. This year, as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and follow health guidelines to keep each other and our communities safe, celebrations will look different – especially for those who were unable to participate in the pilgrimage,” he said.

“However, the values at the heart of Eid-ul-Adha have never been more important. Whether it is supporting a local charity, being there for neighbours, or helping those who are more vulnerable, Muslim Canadians continue to show us what it means to serve our community,” he added.

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