Eid al-adha celebrations began on a muted note on Wednesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While some areas did see a somewhat larger turnout, visuals from various parts of the country show socially distanced gatherings and restricted entry (in some places) for those offering namaz.
The holy festival of Eid-ul-Zuha, also known as the 'festival of sacrifice' or Greater Eid, is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic or lunar calendar. Also known as Eid Qurban or Qurban Bayarami, it marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Eid-ul-Zuha is the second Islamic festival of the year and follows Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.
"Keeping COVID guidelines in mind, we cancelled general namaz timings. Except for a few locals, there were no other visitors as prayers were offered here in wee hours to avoid rush," the Imam of Delhi's Jamia Masjid explained.
Maulana Muhammad Suleman Qasmi added that COVID-19 precautions had been taken in keeping with government instructions. "We should not let anyone suffer, it is also a sacrifice," he told ANI. In the capital city, devotees were seen offering namaz at Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri Masjid, Jamia Masjid among others. However, no mass gathering was seen at Delhi's Jamia Masjid for Bakrid prayers this year.
"We used to celebrate Eid in Eidgah with only one Jamaat. But on the instructions of our government, we are offering namaz in Masjids while maintaining distance with two to three jamaats," explained a devotee at Bengaluru's Masjid-e-Khadria.
Visuals from Thiruvananthapuram also showed devotees offering prayers in accordance with social distancing protocols in Palayam Juma Masjid.
Photos shared by news agency ANI also showed people gathered outside Amritsar's Khairuddin Masjid and Ahmedabad's Jama Masjid to offer namaz on the occasion.
Eid al-Adha is called Id-ul-Adha in Arabic and Bakr-Id in the Indian subcontinent, because of the tradition of sacrificing a goat or 'bakri'. It is a festival that is celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety in India.
According to the Quran, Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son when a voice from heaven stopped him and allowed him to make something else as a 'great sacrifice'. In the Old Testament, it is a ram that is sacrificed instead.
(With inputs from agencies)