Despite the relaxing of social distancing, concerns about the continued spread of the coronavirus are hindering the celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr across Bangladesh, reports bdnews24.com.
Though people were allowed to congregate for the Eid prayers, the traditional sight of people embracing and shaking hands while exchanging greetings was curbed by the current health and safety regulations discouraging physical contact amid the pandemic.
Many worshippers expressed their discontent with the situation.
Though Eidgah areas are typically prepared for the celebrations in Dhaka during Eid, they are closed this time.
However, those who live near the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque took part in the prayer service held in the area.
With the lockdown restrictions still largely in effect, Eid in Dhaka was marked by a smattering of public gatherings and numerous prayer services from 7 am on Monday.
Faizuddin Fardin took part in a prayer service alongside his father and younger brother at the BCC Road area of Old Dhaka.
“It is difficult. We aren’t able to embrace each other as we usually would,” Fardin, an A-Level student from British Standard School said.
“On other Eids, my friends and I would go around celebrating, having fun. But not this time. We can’t go to our friends’ homes. Eid isn’t very joyous under these circumstances.”
After the second round of Eid prayers, Baitul Mukarram National Mosque Pesh Imam Mufti Maulana Muhammad Muhibullahil Baki Nodvi prayed for an end to the epidemic.
There was little cheer in the faces of the worshippers after the prayer service, only tension and apprehension.
Businessman Moinuddin, from Old Dhaka’s Malitola, said, “The coronavirus epidemic is sapping us of joy. There is no business, no commerce. And there is no telling when things will return to normal.”
Prior to the third round of Eid prayers at Baitul Mukarram, Pesh Imam Maulana Ehsanullah Zilani said:
“Our sacred Islamic texts are clear – it is good not to venture into areas affected by an epidemic so that its spread can be contained and the disease brought under control. We must maintain social distancing during this epidemic.”
“So, please space yourselves out. Observe the rules when you enter the mosque. Maintain the distance between yourselves.”
The pesh imam also told everyone to remain alert to the dengue fever as well as the epidemic.
“Everyone must keep their homes and courtyards clean. We must protect ourselves from coronavirus and dengue.”
Eight disinfecting rooms were set up at the four gates leading to the national mosque for the Eid service. Worshippers had to line up and pass through them to enter the mosque.
Four rounds of prayers were held at the mosque on Monday.
EID PRAYERS IN OPEN SPACES
Despite government orders forbidding Eid prayers in open areas, the main road in the South Kamalapur area was closed down for the prayer service on Monday.
Local residents blocked the road in front of the ‘Pari-Jamila Darul Quran Madrasa and Orphanage’ for the service.
“We know it’s not right to hold a prayer service like this, but what can we do?” electrician Monowar Hossain said. “There is no space in the mosque. And no-one follows the rules in this country.”
“They could have used the mosque’s speakers to tell people not to pray outside the mosque, but no-one said anything.”
Businessman Belal Hossain Patwari said: “If it is our fate to catch the disease, so be it. I can’t skip Eid prayers. Hundreds of people came. If they get the disease, so will I.”