Significance of Eid-El Adha amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
Eid-ul adha also known as eidul-kabir is an important festival celebrated every year in Islam on the tenth day of the month of dhūl-hijjah, which is the twelfth and the last month in the Islamic calendar.
The day is celebrated exactly two months and ten days after the eidul-fitr which marks the end of Ramadan fast.
Eidul-adha is a festival to commemorate the willingness of prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God. But before he could sacrifice his son, almighty Allah provided a ram instead.
By taking part in the celebration, Muslims will be portraying their obedience to almighty Allah in emulation of what prophet Ibrahim did.
In commemorating eidul-adha, Muslim faithful gather as a congregation to offer Eid prayer, which consists of two rakats with seven takbir in the first raka’ah and five takbirs in the second, which is then followed by the khutbah, or sermon, by the imam.
After the congregational prayer observed either in a mosque or open field, the imam slaughters the animal for the festival, after which individuals then follow suit.
It is important to note that either the flesh or the blood of the slaughtered animals does not reach the almighty Allah but what reaches him is the piety behind the sacrifice as exhibited by prophet Ibrahim and obedience as demonstrated by his son, Ismail.
It is also obligatory to share the meat of the sacrificed animal in three equivalent parts, one for family, another for relatives and the rest for friends as well as poor people.
In fact, scholars have agreed that after the sharing of the meat and there are still some remaining, such should be given out, as a lot of people are having financial challenges which is made worse by coronavirus pandemic, which is responsible for their inability to get animal for the sacrifice.
This year’s eidul-kabir celebration no doubt comes with a caution due to the ravaging covid-19 pandemic. Although there are strict regulations in some states that Eid prayers should not be observed, Muslim faithful should ensure that all the measures to prevent the spread of the virus are followed to the letter.
And where the condition of such Eid ground is not in conformity with COVID-19 protocols, praying at homes like the way it was done during eidul-fitri is advisable.
The advice of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar that Eid prayer should be observed in jumat mosques should be adhered to, to prevent population explosion, which may be recorded in Eid prayer grounds.
It is therefore advisable for mosques to organize the congregation prayers in such a way that there would be physical distancing among the devotees, and where it is possible the prayer group could be broken down into smaller groups instead of having a very large crowd in a single place.
Security operatives and other government’s taskforce should be vigilant and should not hesitate to enforce compliance of Muslim faithful to COVID-19 protocols like washing of hands with soap under running water, using of face masks and maintaining social distancing.
Every Eid is indeed a period of interaction, merry making and visitation but due to the situation across the world, the best is to celebrate only with one’s immediate family while preventive measures at the same time is put into consideration so as to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
It behoves every individual attending the congregation prayer to protect themselves and their loved ones during the prayer and throughout the celebration.
Above all, if Saudi Arabia, which is the cradle of Islam could limit participation in this year’s hajj to ten thousand from over two millions and strictly for residents so as to contain the spread of coronavirus, no sacrifice could be too much for individual Muslims to take to secure their health, that of the family and the communities as more Eids would come but only the living will celebrate.