UK Muslims urged to stay home for Eid

UK Muslims urged to stay home for Eid
Traditionally, Eid is observed at the end of the holy month of Ramadan with visits to friends and family, and trips to the mosque for Eid prayers. (Reuters)
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Updated 20 May 2020

UK Muslims urged to stay home for Eid

UK Muslims urged to stay home for Eid
  • Senior clerics praise community’s ability to adapt during pandemic lockdown

LONDON: The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has warned people to avoid large gatherings to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, telling Muslims in the UK to maintain social distancing measures instead.
Traditionally, Eid is observed at the end of the holy month of Ramadan with visits to friends and family, and trips to the mosque for Eid prayers.
But amid the coronavirus pandemic, government guidelines in the UK have closed places of worship for the past nine weeks and placed heavy restrictions on socializing.
The four nations of the UK — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — have all implemented their own versions of the lockdown measures.
But the MCB, despite issuing guidance for each nation, has asked all British Muslims to comply by praying and celebrating the occasion virtually instead of communally.
MCB Secretary-General Harun Khan said: “Whilst Eid away from the mosques and from our loved ones is unprecedented and will be a source of great sadness in communities across the country, Muslim communities will adapt and find the best way to still celebrate this holy day whilst aligning to the latest guidance.”
Miqdaad Versi, the MCB’s head of public affairs, said: “Normally Muslims would be at the mosque; mosques would be thronging with people from the morning, and households would not just be (full) of individuals, but families, extended families and friends all coming together.”
He added: “Every single year people get dressed up and go to the mosque and take part in this really important, obligatory for some, part of the faith. And that just won’t be possible.”
Qari Mohammed Asim — senior imam at the Makkah Masjid in Leeds, and chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board — said although the restrictions are painful, the UK’s Muslim community will persevere.
“This is something that was unthinkable six months ago, but today unthinkable has become reality,” he told the BBC.
“The Eid prayer is something that people look forward to all day long. This is extremely challenging and distressing for us,” he added.
“We have had to make a lot of spiritual sacrifices during Ramadan, and that will continue on the day of celebration.”
Sajjad Amin, from the Khizra Mosque in Manchester, said going to the mosque during Eid and Ramadan “is something we have all done since we were children — whether going to the mosque during the evening to break the fast, or for the regular prayers. All that has been taken away from us.”
He added: “Although it is a big disappointment for Eid to be under lockdown, it is something we have gone through with Ramadan. It is difficult but we’re kind of used to it.”