Thiruvananthapuram, May 24 (IANS) For Muslims across Kerala, Sunday began with an unusual celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr: unlike in the past, most of them made it a private and a closed-door affair on account of lockdown norms in place to combat Covid-19.
Muslim clerics on Friday said the moon had not been sighted. But the 30-day Ramadan was to end on Saturday, so the clerics declared that Eid-ul-Fitr in Kerala would be celebrated on Sunday.
In normal circumstances, Eid would have been celebrated with thousands of devout Muslims participating in open prayer sessions at specially erected Eid-Gahs at playgrounds and auditoriums. The community members would also have visited their near and dear ones with rich food being served throughout the day.
One of the country''s tallest Islamic scholars, Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliyar, who is currently the Grand Mufti of India and also the President of the Islamic Community of India, has wished people well, but had a word of caution for them.
"The world is facing one of its worst times as a pandemic has caused untold miseries to all. At this time of crisis, we should spend more time in prayers. This is one day when we should abide by the orders of the authorities to enable us to combat Covid-19. All of us should pray that the world recovers from this crisis," said the Grand Mufti.
At Kozhikode, one of the important Muslim centres in the state, it was a closed-door affair at many homes.
"We decided to stay indoor. After a prayer session, our family sat down and had a breakfast. As the entire world is suffering due to coronavirus, and many people are finding life very tough, we decided that there would be no celebrations at all. It would be a simple and normal day for us," said a teenage girl in Kozhikode.
The supreme leader of the Indian Union Muslim League, Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal, in his message said as the world is going through one of its worst crises, the day should be used for prayers for those who are going through tough times.
Even as the lockdown norms continue to be strict, and despite it being a Sunday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan allowed slight relaxations. Shops selling meat and fish were open in the morning for a few hours.
Muslims account for 88.73 lakh of the 3.34 crore population in Kerala.