Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 11 July 2020

Eid under lockdown sees Muslims pray in open fields and living rooms

GCC nations advised Muslims to pray at home, but other nations saw prayers take place outdoors

As the sun rose on Sunday, instead of hurrying from their homes to their local mosque to perform Eid prayers, many Muslims began the celebration in their living rooms.

The UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia, among other nations, advised Muslims to pray at home, with some broadcasting sermons and prayers on television and online.

Some countries, including Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, have imposed round-the-clock holiday curfews.

In Sudan, Pakistan and Indonesia, Muslims gathered in squares and outdoor areas to pray together in an attempt to lessen the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Mosques reopened in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, but worshippers were required to wear masks and practice social distancing, and older individuals were urged to continue praying at home.

Family visits may have been barred in many Muslim nations, but shopping for Eid gifts was still on the agenda. Shoppers, adhering to social distancing guidelines, thronged malls in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and further afield

Makkah’s Grand Mosque, which would usually be crammed with the faithful for Eid prayers, stood eerily quiet, as a handful of staff prayed around the Kaaba led by an imam.

Saudi Arabia has launched a five-day total curfew over the Eid holiday after coronavirus infections more than quadrupled since the start of Ramadan to over 70,000, leading prayers to be broadcast online.

Just days before the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was due to reopen as part of the lifting of coronavirus lockdown measures, hundreds gathered to pray outside it.

In Gaza, Hamas authorities allowed prayers in mosques despite the enclave's first coronavirus death on Saturday, but worshippers mostly wore masks and placed their prayer mats far apart.

Afghans experienced a quiet first day of Eid, thanks to the announcement of a three-day ceasefire between the Taliban and the government to mark Eid al-Fitr, following months of bloody fighting after the signing of a landmark agreement with the United States.

Updated: May 24, 2020 09:33 PM

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