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 remaining 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 practically each side of this yr’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,” through which Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor.

The pandemic has pushed hundreds of thousands of individuals around the globe nearer to the brink of poverty, making it more durable for a lot of to meet the non secular custom of buying livestock.

In Somalia, the value of meat has barely elevated. Abdishakur Dahir, a civil servant in Mogadishu, stated that for the primary time he gained’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 stated. “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 admittedly difficult by the coronavirus, it’s a troublesome market,” Oumar Maiga, a livestock dealer in Ivory Coast stated. “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 yr, some 2.5 million pilgrims took half, however this yr as few as 1,000 pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia had been allowed to preform the hajj.

The Saudi Well being Ministry stated there have been no circumstances of the COVID-19 sickness amongst this yr’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 had been chosen after making use of by way of an internet 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 manner towards the huge multi-story Jamarat Advanced within the Saudi valley space of Mina. There, the pilgrims forged pebbles at three giant columns. It’s right here the place Muslims imagine the satan tried to speak the Prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham, out of submitting to God’s will.

Muslims commemorate Ibrahim’s check of religion by slaughtering livestock and animals and distributing the meat to the poor.

Over the past days of hajj, male pilgrims shave their heads and take away the terrycloth white clothes worn in the course of the pilgrimage. Girls lower 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 determination” to restrict the variety of pilgrims and shield human life.

“We thank the optimistic position of Muslims around the globe which have complied with the rules of the nation to guard them from the unfold of this virus, which ends up in the safety of Mecca and Medina,” the sheikh stated.

All over the world, Muslims gathered with kin or remained at dwelling to mark the beginning of Eid.

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

“We had hoped that the curfew could be lifted in the course of the Eid interval … we had been stunned that the lockdown interval included the Eid vacation and extra,” stated Marwan Madhat, a Baghdad cafe proprietor. “It will 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 can proceed by way of Aug. 10. Worshippers on the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque within the capital, Beirut, spilled onto the road outdoors to take care of social distancing guidelines.

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

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

“This outbreak has not solely modified our custom solely, however has additionally made increasingly more individuals fall into poverty,” stated Agus Supriatna, an Indonesian manufacturing facility employee who was laid off this yr due to the pandemic.

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

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

“COVID-19 has drained my cash,” stated Ndong, a tailor primarily based 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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