Many Muslims in Bangladesh on Monday performed special prayers at home marking the Eid-al-Fitr festival even as the government allowed such prayers in mosques maintaining health guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak.
They said they had not gone to mosques as they feared that even though they would maintain social distancing rules, many others might not follow suit, raising the coronavirus spread risk.
In a Facebook post, Opel Ahmed, a principal officer at the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh, said he offered his prayers at his residence in Dhaka even though the mosque was just nearby.
He said it was his first Eid in Dhaka, without parents.
Masudur Rahman, a judicial magistrate, said he offered Eid prayers along with the family at home as there is a risk of contracting the deadly virus in mosques.
“Besides, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of saying prayers along with the family – wife and children – at home,” he added.
A 34th BCS appointee, Mohammad Faiz, who is now in Melbourne, Australia, on a study purpose, said he celebrated Eid there on Sunday saying prayers at home to avoid any risk “even though Australia almost controlled the pandemic.”
“Besides, there is no restrictions in Islam about saying Eid prayers at home,” he added.
Amirul Islam, who is employed in the ready-made garment industry, shared photos of offering Eid prayers on the roof in Dhaka city.
He said it was also the first Eid for him to celebrate away from parents at the village in Jhenaidah.
For Muslims in Bangladesh, this Eid is like no other as they mostly spent Ramadan avoiding social gatherings or even without praying in congregations at mosques due to coronavirus fears and restrictions.
So, for reasons obvious, to them, fear and sorrow have taken the place of the words ‘celebration’ and ‘joy’.
According to the Islamic Foundation, the mosques can organise more than one congregation ensuring social distancing.
Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka has held five congregations at 7:00am, 8:00am, 9:00am, 10am and 10:45am.
Under the Foundation guidelines any worshippers willing to say Eid prayers at mosques must go there wearing face masks after ablution at home.
And there will be neither hugs nor handshakes – which are customary after Eid prayers – to exchange Eid greetings.
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