Bangladesh celebrating Eid in shadow of COVID-19, flood

Muslims attend Eid-ul-Azha prayers with social distancing as a preventive measure against coronavirus at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka on 1 August, 2020.
Muslims attend Eid-ul-Azha prayers with social distancing as a preventive measure against coronavirus at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka on 1 August, 2020. Hasan Raja

Eid-ul-Azha, the festival of sacrifice, is being celebrated in Bangladesh as the country grapples with the COVID-19 outbreak and floods inflict untold sufferings to hundreds of thousands of people.

Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated on the 10th of Zilhaj to commemorate the true spirit of sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim (AS). On this day Prophet Ibrahim had offered to sacrifice his son Ismail, who willingly submitted to the will of his father to please Allah.

But the Almighty in His benign mercy spared Hazrat Ismail (AS) and instead sent a ram to be sacrificed.

This year, Eid-ul-Azha is being celebrated in a different situation without any outdoor programme and small Eid Jamaats at Eid grounds due to coronavirus pandemic.

The government has taken different safety measures to ensure that the celebration doesn’t worsen the outbreak. It urged devotees to avoid Eidgah or other open places for Eid congregations and offer prayers at mosques maintaining recommended health advice.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs came up with the call from an inter-ministerial virtual (online) meeting organised on the occasion of the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha on 12 July.

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This year, the main congregation of Eid was held at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque instead of the National Eidgah following the hygiene rules considering the corona infection situation.

The government suggested disinfecting mosques before the Eid prayer and not rolling out carpets on the floors.

The devotees were asked to bring prayer mats from home. Besides, arrangements were made at the entrances of the mosques for washing hands. They must wear masks inside mosques and avoid using prayer mats and caps that were stored earlier there.

Children, elderly people, people with physical ailment, and those involved in taking care of the sick were not be allowed to attend the Eid prayer.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has issued specific guidelines over sacrificing animals.

Local administrations, law enforcement agencies, public representatives, staffers of the Islamic Foundation and managing committees of mosques have been implementing the directives.

Six Eid-ul-Azha congregations were held at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque from 7:00am.

After the first jamaat, the second one was held at 7:50am while the next three jamaats were held at 8:45am, 9:35am, 10:30am, and another was at 11:10am.

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The president and the prime minister addressed the nation on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha. On this occasion, the national flag has been hoisted in government, private buildings and Bangladesh missions abroad.

Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private media is broadcasting special programmes with due importance and newspapers will publish special supplements.

On the occasion, arrangements will be made to serve special diets at hospitals, prisons, government maternity hospitals, old homes and drug rehabilitation centres in the country.

All necessary measures were taken to ensure that the environment is not get polluted by the blood and waste material of the sacrificed animal after the qurbani.

However, amid the risk of virus infection thousands of people have already left the capital to celebrate the very auspicious occasion with their near and dear ones in their village homes.

The country witnessed 28 deaths from coronavirus on Friday, the lowest since 1 June, when 22 people died of COVID-19 in a day.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Bangladesh’s officially confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 237,661 with the detection of 2,772 new patients in the last 24 hours.

Floods have hit vast swathes of Bangladesh amid the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people are being forced to live under the sky as floods wreak havoc on the cropland, wash away fish enclosures and trigger large scale erosion, putting livelihoods at risk.