Bearing in mind the current pandemic situation, the Maharashtra government has urged the Muslim community to observe a low-key Muharram this year. The state government has issued guidelines banning processions and large gatherings, to curb the spread of the coronavirus infection.
Muharram is observed by Muslims to mourn the death of Hazrat Imam Hussain, in the battle of Karbala, in the seventh century. It marks the first and one of the most sacred months of the Islamic calendar.
The government guidelines come days after it has issued similar dos and don'ts for Ganeshotsav, Paryushana, Eid and Ramzan.
The government has strictly said 'Maatam' or mourning processions will not be permitted. This is in compliance with the guidelines issued by the Centre and the state government banning social and religious events because of the Covid-19 crisis. The government has asked the Muslim community to observe Muharram at home, just like other religious observances, following public distancing and safety norms.
People living in the same housing society too should not congregate for the observance and the Majlis (social, cultural or religious gathering) should be organised online, adhering to norms, the government has said.
However, majlis will be allowed online but there can be no public installation of the Tazia (a replica of the tomb of Imam Hussain). This can be done at home or in an adjoining area and the immersion too should be done there. The local administration's nod will be needed for the setting up of 'Chhabils' (stalls). Not more than two persons should be present at the stalls. Water should be distributed only in sealed bottles from Chhabils and cleanliness and social distancing must be followed.
According to the guidelines, congregations of more than four persons will not be allowed.
The government has appealed to people to hold awareness campaigns, blood donation, plasma donation camps and health workshops in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Guidelines will be strictly binding for all.