Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the monthlong fast for Ramadan, began Sunday with in-home prayers substituting for communal prayers at mosques because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Fiqh Council of North America, a council of Islamic legal scholars in the United States and Canada, has called on mosques and Islamic centers to “strictly follow the health and state official guidelines for social gatherings and distancing” and for Muslims to “listen to virtual Eid reflections from their local” mosque.
The Eid prayer can be offered any time after sunrise and before noon on Sunday.
The council has requested Muslims to fulfill the Sunan of Eid, the practices of celebrating Eid as prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad, such as bathing, putting on the best clothes and perfume, reciting recommended Takbeerat, exclamations that “God is great!” eating some dates or sweet before Eid prayer, sharing gifts, especially with children, and visiting friends and families not physically but from a distance.
Cleanliness is a large part of Islam. Before the daily prayers, Muslims perform a ritual washing.
The prayers mark the beginning of the feast of fast-breaking holiday in which Muslims customarily exchange social visits and seek to strengthen family and community bonds.
The prayer program usually begins with 30 minutes of Takbeerat, praise of God and the Prophet Muhammad. Each Eid prayer has a motivational sermon, known as Khutba.
During the holiday, Muslims greet each other by saying “Eid mubarak” meaning “blessed Eid” and “taqabbalallah ta’atakum,” which means “may God accept your deeds.” Many communities also hold multicultural bazaars and other family activities following the prayers.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is encouraging Muslims across the nation to share photos and videos highlighting what they are grateful for as they and their families celebrate Eid al-Fitr while observing social distancing.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made reference to the restrictions prompted by the coronavirus outbreak in a video message posted on his Twitter account.
“This is a time of collective sacrifice in our City of Angels, a time that calls on us to embody the values of Islam, to celebrate our blessings while serving those who are in need,” Garcetti said.
“I know the holiday — like so many things right now — will be a break from tradition. But I also know that the love and faith at its roots will carry the people of this city through to a better day.”
In the presidential message on Eid al-Fitr, President Donald Trump said, “Over the past weeks and months, as we have fought the coronavirus, we have relied on our faith, family and friends to help guide us through these unprecedented times.
“As Muslims observe the day of Eid al-Fitr, we hope they find both comfort and strength in the healing powers of prayer and devotion. Now more than ever we are reminded of the reassuring peace, uplifting love and heartening fellowship that religion brings into our lives.”
Eid al-Fitr is the first of the two major Muslim holidays during the year. The second holiday, Eid al-Adha, comes near the end of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, in July.
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