Filipino Muslims celebrate Eid’l Fitr virtually at home due to COVID-19

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Filipino Muslims are celebrating Eid’l Fitr virtually at home as COVID-19 persists in the country.

Usually, Muslims in Metro Manila would gather at the Rizal Park grounds for the traditional breaking of the fast on Eid’l Fitr, but not this year.

No such gathering was held at the Rizal Park as people were advised to stay home to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) had issued an advisory encouraging Filipino Muslims to hold Eid’l Fitr prayers at home in observance of the government’s quarantine rules.

NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan said those praying Eid at home may tune into IBC TV 13 or 15, which will air an Eid prayer and Khutba to be officiated by Dr. Julkipli Wadi at the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Islamic Studies on May 24 at 7 to 8 a.m.

“Let us celebrate Eid’l Fitr with supplications to Almighty Allah under the spirit of unity and solidarity with the Filipino people and the Muslim world in the fight against COVID-19, and obey our government authorities who are committed to the safety and wellbeing of our people in general,” Pangarungan said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared May 25, Monday as a regular holiday in observance of Eid’l Fitr or the Feast of Ramadan, which is celebrated by the Muslim world for three days after the end of the month of fasting.

Thousands previously gathered at the Philippine capital’s largest park at daybreak, bringing food to share with their families to mark the religious occasion.

Mass gatherings, however, are still prohibited as the Philippines fights the pandemic, which has so far claimed 863 lives in the country and infected 12,914 others.

“Through our strong faith, Muslims around the world were able to solemnly observe the Holy Month of Ramadan despite the ongoing global pandemic,” Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, interim chief minister of the Bangsamoro Government, said in a statement.

“The transition was not easy, going from our usual community Iftars and night prayers to conducting it all at home, and in the company of only our immediate family.”

Residents of Zamboanga City prayed in their living rooms, garages, and vacant lots while following physical distancing measures on Sunday to mark the celebration of Eid’l Fitr or the end of Ramadan. Photo courtesy of Ben Nasser Isnain

In Zamboanga City, mosques remained closed in compliance with the national government’s guidelines and a local quarantine policy prohibiting residents from going outside their homes on Sunday.

Residents prayed in their living rooms, garages, and vacant lots while following physical distancing measures.

Murad said relief support and cash aid were distributed amid the ongoing pandemic in the Bangsamoro region.

“We still have a long way to go but much like the familiar virtues during the holy month of Ramadhan – patience (Sab’r) and Tawaakul (trust in the Almighty’s plans), we will overcome this crisis and restart our ever-resilient region, in Shaa’Allah,” he said.

“Now more than ever, we need to cooperate with one another as we navigate our way towards building a stronger Bangsamoro anchored with the tenets of Moral Governance.”

This year’s observance of the holy month of Ramadan has tested the country’s resolve as “individuals and as a people,” according to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr, who also serves as chief implementer of the National Task Force on COVID-19.

“Despite these trials, members of the Islamic faith have shown greater compassion, understanding, and solidarity, while observing the obligations and traditions in accordance with the fatwa of the Grand Mufti and the Darul Ifta,” he said in a statement.

“As we continue to sustain the gains of peace in the Bangsamoro, may we also continue to help those who are most in need, and pray for the health and recovery of our nation as we heal as one. Eid al-Fitr Mubarak!” Galvez said.

President Rodrigo Duterte wished Filipino Muslims a “solemn and blessed occasion” as he urged them to be “agents of change.”

He also urged them to “remain committed in breaking down barriers that divide and further estrange us from one another.”/Stacy Ang

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