‘Homely’ celebrations as Muslims nationwide usher in Aidilfitri in new normal

24 May 2020 / 17:07 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Muslims in the country today celebrated Aidilfitri in the so-called new normal to thwart the Covid-19 infection, without the usual congregational prayers in mosques, open house and visits to relatives and grave sites.

Unlike previous years, celebrations were scaled down due to the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) enforced to contain the outbreak, which among others, forced many to remain in the cities after balik kampung (return to hometowns) plans were shelved due to an inter-state travel ban.

Many were also mindful of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) under the CMCO, among others limiting house visits to within the state and in groups of not more than 20 besides having to skip the customary grave-site visits, a norm during Hari Raya.

The most apparent routine change this year was perhaps the absence of Hari Raya congregational prayers in mosques and surau, as some states have either prohibited this, or limited the congregation to very small numbers with strict social distancing enforced, as part of efforts to curb the deadly disease.

Prayers were performed with family members at home instead, who then opted to spend their first day of Aidilfitri in closed-door celebrations instead of hosting traditional open house gatherings.

In SELANGOR, where there was ban on Aidilfitri congregational prayers in mosques and surau, Muslims performed the prayers at home, guided by a prayer kit and sermons prepared by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).

In TERENGGANU, despite a similar ban enforced, celebrations remained joyful as Muslims in the state performed their prayers at homes with the family.

Mohd Zaideen Yusoff, 60, said the congregational prayer ban was a blessing a disguise as that meant he could perform the prayers with his extended family at his in-laws home in Kampung Bukit Besar in Kuala Terengganu.

In PERLIS, there were no Aidilfitri prayers performed in mosques and surau state-wide, and grave sites remained closed. Only mosque committee members were allowed to recite the ‘Takbir Raya’ that echoed through mosques loudspeakers from the crack of dawn until about 9am.

In PAHANG, Muslims also remained at home to perform their Hari Raya prayers following the state government’s decision to prohibit congregational prayers in mosques and surau this year, as was in MELAKA where a similar ban was enforced.

In SABAH, mosques statewide remained empty as a similar ban on Hari Raya congregational prayers in mosques and surau was enforced.

Muslims in PENANG also complied with the CMCO SOPs by performing their prayers at home after the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP) issued a directive to prohibit Hari Raya prayers in mosques and surau.

However, in KELANTAN, Hari Raya prayers were held at the Masjid Sultan Muhammad II in Telipot in Kota Bahru at 8.30 am, but only imams, bilal and siak were seen performing the prayers while observing strict safe distancing protocols. They were also subjected to body temperature checks.

In JOHOR, the Hari Raya prayers at the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque in Johor Bahru, and involving only 12 congregation members, was led by Imam Sabaruddin Zainon, which also saw social distancing being practised.

In NEGRI SEMBILAN, 12 members of the State Mosque committee in Seremban performed Hari Raya prayers at the mosque, led by Imam 1 Ahmad Rijal Ghazali with strict safe distancing protocols also practised, besides the absence of the customary salam (handshake greeting).

In PERAK, Aidilfitri prayers were performed at the temporary Covid-19 homeless shelter at the Perak Badminton Arena, led by Civil Defence Force (APM) officer Captain Muhammed Ameen Salleh Mura that had 13 people in the congregation, including a homeless individual. Safe distancing was also observed during the prayers.

In KEDAH, Kedah Mufti Datuk Syeikh Fadzil Awang said the congregation that performed Aidilfitri prayers at 576 mosques throughout the state had adhered to SOPs, including safe distancing. — Bernama

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