Final Days of Hajj Rituals and Eid Festival Celebrations Impacted by Coronavirus

(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) — Small teams of pilgrims carried out one of many ultimate rites of the Islamic hajj on Friday as Muslims worldwide marked the beginning of the Eid al-Adha vacation amid a world pandemic that has impacted almost each side of this 12 months’s pilgrimage and celebrations.

The final days of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia coincide with the four-day Eid al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice,” wherein Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor.

The pandemic has pushed thousands and thousands of individuals world wide nearer to the brink of poverty, making it more durable for a lot of to meet the spiritual custom of buying livestock.

In Somalia, the value of meat has barely elevated. Abdishakur Dahir, a civil servant in Mogadishu, mentioned that for the primary time he received’t have the ability to afford goat for Eid due to the affect of the virus on work.

“I might hardly purchase meals for my household,” Dahir mentioned. “We’re simply surviving for now. Life is getting harder by the day.”

In some components of West Africa, the value for a ram has doubled. Livestock sellers, used to doing brisk enterprise within the days earlier than the vacation, say gross sales have dwindled and people who are shopping for can’t afford a lot.

“The scenario is basically sophisticated by the coronavirus, it’s a troublesome market,” Oumar Maiga, a livestock dealer in Ivory Coast mentioned. “We’re in a scenario we’ve by no means seen in different years.”

The hajj pilgrimage has additionally been drastically impacted by the virus. Final 12 months, some 2.5 million pilgrims took half, however this 12 months as few as 1,000 pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia have been allowed to preform the hajj.

The Saudi Well being Ministry mentioned there have been no instances of the COVID-19 sickness amongst this 12 months’s pilgrims. The federal government took quite a few precautions, together with testing pilgrims for the virus, monitoring their motion with digital wristbands and requiring them to quarantine earlier than and after the hajj. Pilgrims have been chosen after making use of by way of a web-based portal, and all needed to be between 20 and 50 years of age.

Simply after daybreak on Friday, small teams of pilgrims — masked and bodily distancing — made their means towards the huge multi-story Jamarat Complicated within the Saudi valley space of Mina. There, the pilgrims solid pebbles at three massive columns. It’s right here the place Muslims consider the satan tried to speak the Prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham, out of submitting to God’s will.

Muslims commemorate Ibrahim’s take a look at of religion by slaughtering livestock and animals and distributing the meat to the poor.

Over the last days of hajj, male pilgrims shave their heads and take away the terrycloth white clothes worn in the course of the pilgrimage. Ladies minimize off a small lock of hair in an indication of non secular rebirth and renewal.

The hajj, each bodily and spiritually demanding, intends to result in higher humility and unity amongst Muslims. It’s required of all Muslims to carry out as soon as in a lifetime.

Sheikh Abdullah al-Manea, member of the Supreme Council of Senior Students of Saudi Arabia, used the hajj sermon Friday to reward the dominion’s management for his or her “clever resolution” to restrict the variety of pilgrims and defend human life.

“We thank the optimistic position of Muslims world wide which have complied with the rules of the nation to guard them from the unfold of this virus, which results in the safety of Mecca and Medina,” the sheikh mentioned.

World wide, Muslims gathered with family members or remained at residence to mark the beginning of Eid.

Within the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, streets have been largely empty attributable to a 10-day lockdown imposed by authorities to forestall additional unfold of the virus. Eid prayers in mosques have been canceled.

“We had hoped that the curfew could be lifted in the course of the Eid interval … we have been stunned that the lockdown interval included the Eid vacation and extra,” mentioned Marwan Madhat, a Baghdad cafe proprietor. “This may trigger losses.”

Kosovo and the United Arab Emirates have additionally closed mosques to restrict the unfold of the virus.

In Lebanon, Muslim worshippers prayed in mosques underneath tight safety, regardless of a partial lockdown imposed on Thursday that may proceed by way of Aug. 10. Worshippers on the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque within the capital, Beirut, spilled onto the road exterior to take care of social distancing guidelines.

In Indonesia, residence to the world’s largest inhabitants of Muslims, individuals have been allowed to attend Eid prayers in mosques underneath strict well being pointers, together with that they bring about their very own prayer mats and pray a number of ft other than each other. Worshippers should put on masks and are usually not allowed to shake fingers or hug.

Authorities in Indonesia additionally ordered that meat be delivered door-to-door to the poor to keep away from lengthy traces.

“This outbreak has not solely modified our custom completely, however has additionally made an increasing number of individuals fall into poverty,” mentioned Agus Supriatna, an Indonesian manufacturing facility employee who was laid off this 12 months due to the pandemic.

Muslim leaders in Albania and Kosovo referred to as on individuals “to watch out” of their festivities to keep away from transmission of the virus, together with limiting household visits.

A number of days forward of the vacation, Alioune Ndong in Senegal mentioned he didn’t know the way he’d afford his household’s feast. He referred to as on Senegal’s authorities to assist struggling households like his.

“COVID-19 has drained my cash,” mentioned Ndong, a tailor based mostly within the city of Mbour.


Related Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia; Fay Abuelgasim in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania; Abdi Guled in Nairobi, Kenya; Lekan Oyekanmi in Lagos, Nigeria; Abdoulie John in Mbour, Senegal; Hilaire Zon in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Babacar Dione and Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, and Ali Abdul-Hassan in Baghdad and Hassan Ammar in Beirut contributed to this report.


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