Low-key Bakrid celebrations in Telangana, Andhra

Hyderabad, Aug 1 (IANS) Eid ul-Adha was celebrated in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on Saturday on a low-key note in view of the coronavirus crisis, as Muslims offered prayers in mosques and sacrificed animals.

Namaz-e-Eid was offered in mosques as worshippers maintained social distance and took other precautions as per the COVID-19 protocols.

There were no prayers in Eidgahs or open grounds which otherwise witness large congregations of Muslims twice a year. Like Eid ul-Fitr, which was celebrated in May, the prayers were not held in Eidgahs.

However, this time, the congregational prayers were allowed in mosques but subject to certain restrictions. Most of the mosques saw prayers in two spells to ensure social distancing among the worshippers.

Historic Mecca Masjid and Shahi Masjid in Hyderabad saw no congregational prayers as the two mosques remained closed for worshippers as a precautionary measure.

Historic Mir Alam Eidgah and Mecca Masjid, near Charminar, used to witness biggest gatherings on Eid.

However, prayers were conducted in hundreds of mosques in Hyderabad, its twin city Secunderabad and other towns and villages in both the Telugu states.

In most of the mosques, people who offered a ‘Fajr’ or pre-dawn prayers stayed back for Namaz-e-Eid held half-an-hour to one hour after the sunrise.

Eid ul-Adha or Bakrid is the second major Muslim festival celebrated to commemorate the sacrifice by Prophet Ibrahim, who offered to sacrifice his son Ismail on Allah’s command. The Almighty, however, replaced Prophet Ismail with a lamb just as Prophet Ibrahim was about to slit his son’s throat.

Imams, in their sermons on the occasion of Eid prayers, called upon the devout to imbibe Prophet Ibrahim’s spirit of sacrifice and said the Eid’s message is that they should always be ready to surrender to Allah’s will.

Moulana Abdullah Qasmi, who led the prayers and delivered the sermons at Masjid-e-Sufha in Toli Chowki area of Hyderabad, said the success in this world and hereafter lies in surrendering oneself to Allah as a true servant.

There was no traditional handshake and hugs after the prayers as people restricted themselves to ‘salam’ and greeting each other orally.

After the prayers, Muslims offered sacrifice of ‘halal’ animals to Allah. Sacrificing is obligatory for adult Muslims who are ‘saheb-e-nisab’ or possess wealth equivalent to 87.48 gram gold or 612.35 gram silver.

An individual can sacrifice a sheep or goat or may join six other persons to sacrifice a big animal.

The meat of the sacrificed animal is distributed equally in three parts. The person making the sacrifice keeps one part for his family while the other two parts are distributed among relatives and the poor.

This year, the number of people offering sacrifice at their homes came down in view of COVID-19. Avoiding the risk while buying the animals or hiring services of butchers for slaughter, many either outsourced the job to traders or socio-religious organisations.

Instead of sacrificing goats or sheep, many people preferred taking a ‘hissa’ or share in the cattle with the individuals and groups who organise a ‘ijtemai qurbani’ or collective sacrifice every year. Some groups offered their services even for slaughter of goats or sheep.

Community leaders say many people entrusted the task of distribution of meat among the poor to the groups arranging collective sacrifice. They wanted to avoid visits to relatives, friends and others to distribute meat in view of the COVID-19 situation.

Meanwhile, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao conveyed greetings to the Muslims on the occasion of Eid.

“Bakrid symbolises the spirit of sharing and charity with great reverence and supreme devotion to the Almighty. Wish you all a happy Bakrid and appeal all to celebrate with COVID precautions,” the Governor tweeted.

Rao, in his message, said that it’s a festival of sacrifice and reminds everyone to follow the noble teachings of the Prophet and imbibe the spirit of sacrifice, compassion and tolerance for fellow beings during these times.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy extended his greetings to the Muslims and said: “May this auspicious day further the spirit of compassion, devotion and faith amongst all of us.”

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