UK’s Muslims Are Urged to Avoid Communal Eid Al-Fitr Celebrations19 May 2020
The holy month of Ramadan has turned out a lot more differently than the previous years. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak and resulting lockdowns, many Ramadan events have been cancelled or were taken online. Although there were some hopes that the lockdown might ease enough by the end of Ramadan in time for Eid al-Fitr, it would appear that this will not be the case. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has issued new guidance for Muslims in the UK on how to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, expected to take place on 24th of May.
The MCB has issued guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
The guidance issued by the MCB is in line with the wider lockdown guidance issued in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The guidance issued by the MCB is in line with the wider lockdown guidance issued in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with small variations in guidelines based on the state of lockdowns themselves in each individual country.
For England, the MCB advised Muslims to not go to mosque, adding that community gatherings are not permitted. It also called on Muslims to not visit family and friends in their homes. In light of the somewhat relaxed lockdown measures, the guidance for England did note that Muslims can go out to celebrate but advised them to not gather in a group of two or more who are not from the same household. The guidance advised Muslims to exchange gifts in the household or by ordering online; enjoy a home-cooked dinner or take-away eaten at home, to wash and wear the best clothes and wear perfume, to eat something sweet for breakfast, to call out Eid Takbiraat at home and to perform Salah at home, either Eid Prayer or Nafl Salah.
The recommendations given for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all accounted for the stricter lockdowns that are due to remain in place. Still using the “Stay at home; Protect the NHS; Save lives” slogan which England no longer uses, the guidance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland explicitly told Muslims to not go to parks and Public spaces or to congregate with others. It also suggested Muslims to enjoy dinner at home, with no references to takeaways.
“This is something that was unthinkable six months ago, but today unthinkable has become reality”
The news of the lockdown continuing through Eid was met with understandable sadness from the UK’s prominent Muslims. Miqdaad Versi, head of public affairs at the MCB, said that Eid was normally the time for Muslims to be at the mosque and families coming together, expressing sadness that this will not be possible this year. Similarly, Qari Muhammad Asim, senior imam at the Makkah Masjid in Leeds and chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, said that this is the first time in British Muslim history that there was no Eid prayer, noting that what is being experienced right now was unthinkable six months ago.