Eid is coming up next week and elders of the Muslim community in Karnataka have come out with fresh guidelines on how to celebrate the festival that will fall in the fourth phase of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The community has decided to make it an Eid without namaz at the mosque, and without any hugging, handshake, public gathering or visiting relatives and friends. Community elders have issued a six-point mandate for everyone to follow and ensure that Idgah maidans remain empty this year.
The guidelines were issued days after a few politicians like former Union minister CM Ibrahim wrote to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa asking if the lockdown could be relaxed for Eid as a special occasion.
Community leaders have shunned the opinion of these politicians and stated they would prefer to pray from home.
"It is impossible to hold any kind of gathering in the current pandemic situation... Hence, Eid namaz will not be organised at Eidgah maidans. We appeal to all Muslim brothers and sisters not to hug during greetings… the virus could spread. Avoid outings also as it is harmful. Stay home and save yourself and save others too," said Maqsood Imran, imam of the Jama Masjid in Bengaluru that presides over all others mosques in the state.
Some of following decisions were taken at its Wednesday meeting:
- Celebrate simply, do not spend unnecessarily -- use the money to help the poor instead
- No hugging, no handshakes while exchanging greetings
- No public gatherings -- pray at home, at masjids. Not more than five will gather to offer prayers.
- Make an offering of at least Rs 70 before Eid to the needy as Sadqa E Fitr.
- Pray as much as possible on Eid as it is considered a time of acceptance.
- After Eid, the community will petition the government to consider opening all places of religious worship.
Asked if the guidelines were issued after the community elders decided to ignore the pleas of politicians in this regard, the imam said they had nothing against anyone in particular.
"Everyone has an opinion. Some people will think transport has resumed, shops are open and so are alcohol outlets, so why not gather in the masjid? But we spoke to doctors, intellectuals, ulemas, and even MPs and MLAs belonging to our community. After that we decided that we have to pray in our homes and not come to the masjid," he told CNN-News18.
The community has also been at the receiving end of being considered mass spreaders of the virus because of the Tablighi Jamaat convention in March in Delhi, when people from across the country and abroad had gathered. The stigma over the issue has had a lasting impact.
"It is only one incident. A lot of incidents have happened in our country, we have to protect our country from this virus. It is not a Muslim, Hindu or Sikh virus. This has affected everyone, we cannot blame anyone. We have to protect ourselves. And we have to convey a strong message to everyone," the imam said.