The public sphere has been filled with speculations on possible ease of lockdown for the Muslim faithful to gather and have their Eid-il-fitr prayers and celebrations in grand style as has been the status quo. While some governors, especially in the northern part of the country have given their nod to the gathering upon the completion of the fast of the month of Ramadan, some others are still sitting on the fence without indicating their green or red light.
To a common man on the street, this should not have be an issue of deliberation, talk more to be made open to the public. The embargo placed on gatherings of whatever nature should remain pending when the pandemic seems to be tamed.
Some quarters might claim we need to fight this pandemic spiritually while the health practitioners keep fighting it medically, no doubt it might but that should not be while exposing the precious lives of innocent citizens.
If at all there would be any need for the spiritual fight, the full month of Ramadan would have been the best with the level of spirituality attained by the Muslim faithful. Alas! Muslims were instructed to carry out their spiritual devotions and religious activities right in their homes to maintain and sustain the sanctity of the lives of citizens.
Definitely, hardly will anyone belonging to the the Muslim community not miss the atmosphere experienced on the day of ‘Eid. The love, happiness, joy and fun the day is customarily associated with is one without equal. The trouping out en masse to ‘Eid grounds, the handshakes and hugs, group pictures and many other experience one cannot think of missing or let go easily.
To the younger kids, the new clothes, shoes and fashionable wears which brand them amongst their peers is another aspect not to be experienced this year. Even what precedes it, the Ramadan fast, the experience was lost. But can’t we sacrifice our happiness for a little while to have an everlasting one? This is the question for the wise and the answer is not far from reach.
How realistic would it be to practise the precautionary measures put in place such as social distancing and hand washing with the continuous geometric increase in the daily discovery of new cases, which has maintained a three-figure appearance, when you make way for the citizens to take to the streets in their massive numbers for the Eid prayers?.
One major cause of this, community transmission, since the borders have been completely shut and ban placed on interstates movement. This transmission indicates that the interaction and mingling amongst people within the states is skyrocketing the figures on a daily basis. So, why the ease of lockdown for the ‘Eid prayers? To jeopardize our sacrifice of over a month for the enjoyment of a day?.
How many people would be able to wash their hands at the ‘Eid ground? How many handshakes can be prevented? What level of social distancing can be maintained? Why create gatherings when we have been warned against such? How many materials could be disbursed to these places for testing? The cost and logistics? Even when a large percentage of the citizens are yet to get tested? These are questions calling for answers from the authorities.
The Islamic faith specially recognizes the holiness of human lives. In the Holy Qur’an, Suratul Maidah, Chapter 5, Verse 32 it reads “Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidences, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits (e.g. by doing oppression unjustly and exceeding beyond the limits set by Allah by committing the major sins) in the land!”.
If the Supreme Being you are submitting to value the lives He has control over, why place it at a risk of being getting terminated?.
Top Muslim countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia have totally shutdown the country with prohibition of gatherings on ‘Eid day. Prominent Muslim scholars across the world have also given their fatwa (Islamic judgement) on the issue, calling for the ‘Eid prayers to be observed at home.