*Special prayers at home. virtual meetings mark this year's celebrations
The first-ever Eid al-Fitr under strict stay-at-home guidelines on Sunday lent an unprecedented experience to Qatar residents but the precautionary measures against the virus failed to dampen the religious fervour of the faithful.
The authorities had repeatedly appealed to everyone to stay home for Eid al-Fitr in order to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
As a result, Qatar residents celebrated the auspicious day by not going out, holding special Eid al-Fitr prayers at homes, and organising virtual meetings on various online platforms.
Meanwhile, Eid al-Fitr prayers were held on Sunday exclusively in the presence of 40 worshippers including imams, muezzins and staff at the Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab Mosque, as per the Hanbali doctrine. The prayers were broadcast on TV and radio channels.
The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) had announced earlier that the decision to close mosques and suspend congressional prayers as part of precautionary and preventive measures against the spread of Covid-19 would also apply to Eid al-Fitr prayers.
“The day turned out to be quite usual except I had special food with my family,” said Najeeb Edassery, a resident of Al Murra, reminiscing his experiences of earlier Eid days when he took his family out to various beaches.
“I chose to talk to my friends and relatives by making group video calls. And thus, I made virtual visits,” he said.
For Suhaib Abdulla, the day started with Eid al-Fitr special prayer at his residence at Al Wakra.
“In fact, Eid al-Fitr came as a holiday for me since I was busy volunteering with Qatar Charity at Al Aziziya Al Meera for more than one month,” he said. Unable to go out, Abdulla too had virtual celebrations with his family back home in India.
Rather than making it a celebration only involving family and friends, some residents went an extra mile by organising virtual cultural activities over Zoom. A Kerala-based collective organised an exclusive meet during which its members exchanged pleasantries, shared Eid al-Fitr messages and some of them had special Eid songs. Named Pattorma, which literally means Memory of Songs, the meet was attended by around 100 members in Qatar.
“The programme received overwhelming response from the members. And we refreshed ourselves and it lent us numerous moments to muse the memories,” said collective functionary Ashraf Hudawi Kattumunda.
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