Today is Eid al-Adha, better known as Eid-el-Kabir, an annual Islamic festival that calls for sacrifice and sharing. As Muslims all over the world therefore celebrate, the season offers yet another opportunity to adherents of the faith and indeed all Nigerians to live the true meaning and essence of this occasion: sacrifice, obedience and love. What makes the festival particularly significant is that it is rooted in the scriptural accounts of both Islam and Christianity about how Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), in obedience to God, offered his son as sacrifice before divine intervention. But this is an unusual time.
Religious festivals like Eid al-Adha usually come with social gatherings–huge receptions where food is shared, hugs between family members and friends and general group prayers. But the current global coronavirus pandemic has forced many to rethink the way they celebrate the festival this year with certain restrictions. Obeying those regulations is important for all Muslims in Nigeria even when they should not in any way limit the spirit of the season. In several countries, Muslims are adopting novel methods to reach out and share with the needy while still maintaining social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols.
In Saudi Arabia, the authorities have announced that Eid prayers will take place inside mosques and not outside while the Ministry of Islamic Affairs recommended adhering to the usual precautionary measures such as keeping two metres (six feet) of social distancing and bringing one’s own prayer rug. All these are important if we must limit the spread of a lethal virus that has infected more than 16 million people across the world and has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands.
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