Muslims celebrate scaled-back Eid festival as Covid-19 spread continues

·2-min read

Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha, the annual festival of sacrifice, that has been scaled back this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the celebrations, animals such as sheep and cattle are slaughtered and distributed to the poor.

This year, many devotees have been encouraged to make their meat donations online to limit the spread of Covid-19 at markets.

Around the world, the festival had to fit in with the realities of the coronavirus.

In Indonesia, the religious ministry asked mosques to shorten ceremonies, while many cancelled the ritual of slaughtering livestock and distributing meat to the community.

Instead sheep, goats and cows were being killed in abattoirs to mark the 'Feast of the Sacrifice', celebrated by Muslims to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail at God's command.

Keep it safe

The World Health Organization has called for strict rules around animal slaughter, suggesting that families distribute meat donations through centralised agencies instead of from their homes.

Numerous apps and websites have sprung up in countries such as India and Bangladesh, where animals will be sold online to limit exposure to the virus.

In Mumbai, Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, popularly known as SRK, has come up with an ingenious way of keeping the coronavirus at bay: hug yourself.

In a post on Instagram, the Bollywood actor and producer advised Muslims to give themselves a "self hug" as traditional hugging will not be allowed.

End of Hajj

The pandemic also cast a shadow over this year's Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Last year, 2.5 million people took part in the five-day event. This year, as few as 1,000 pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia were allowed to perform the hajj.

The pilgrimage wraps up on Monday 3 August when the Eid al-Adha festival ends.

Eid al-Adha is the second major Muslim festival after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

It marks the 12th and last month of the Muslim lunar calendar.