No Congregational Prayers On Eid-ul-Azha Today

KO File Photo By Abid Bhat

Feverish Pitch Missing In Markets

Srinagar: Eid-ul-Azha will be observed with religious fervour across Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday. Muslims throughout the world offer animal sacrifices on Eid-ul-Azha, also called Bakr Eid, to commemorate the sacrifice offered by prophet Abraham.

This year there would be no congregational Eid prayers in revered shrine of Hazratbal, historic Jamia Masjid here besides other major shrines as government has decided the situation was not good enough to allow the gathering amid covid-19.

This would be the fourth Eid in a row which will be celebrated amid covid-19 shadow. This year Eid-ul-Fitr was also observed amid the pandemic. Last year, the festivals also remained subdued due to the covid pandemic. In fact, it is fifth Eid festival which will be observed in quiet manner in Jammu and Kashmir as people remained confined to homes amid massive security and communication clampdown due to revocation of Article 370 by the centre on August 5 2019.

Eid-ul-Azha falls on the 10th day of the Islamic calendar’s last month, Dhu al-Hijjah.

Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Azha to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s (AS) willingness to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his son prophet Ismael (AS).

The celebration of Eid-ul-Azha this year would be impacted with no congregational prayers and social gathering.

Traditionally, Muslims offer Eid congregational prayers in open spaces like grounds commonly known as Eidgah. There would hardly be any hug to extend greetings as would be done in normal times after Eid special prayers are over.

Other than the contemporary surreal tines, thousands of people would attend Eid prayers in Eidgahs, mosques and shrines across Jammu and Kashmir. The biggest gathering would be seen at Eidgah and at Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar.

In run up to the festival, markets saw some buzz with mutton, chicken and bakery shops frequented by customers along with shops dealing with readymade garments and shoes. However, there was feverish shopping as would be associated with normal times.

Ease In Curbs Help Traders Make Up For Losses

Easing of the COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Eid-ul-Azha in Kashmir has helped the business fraternity make up for some of the losses they have suffered since August 2019 due to back-to-back curfew and lockdowns.

The Eid shoppers returned to markets, thronging bakeries and garment shops in the city and elsewhere in the valley, as Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated on Wednesday, officials said.

However, the main economic activity was centred around the purchase of sacrificial animals — mostly sheep and goats — as Muslims across the world prepare to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha, a tradition following Prophet Ibrahim, who had offered to sacrifice his son Ismail to fulfil Allah’s command.

The animal sales have been brisk but still not at par with the 2018 levels, livestock dealers said.

“We rear our flock for the year in the hope of making some money on the eve of Eid. The last two years were devastating as the sales were next to nothing. However, this year, I have sold 75 per cent of my stock,” Ghulam Din Khatana, a resident of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, said.

Khatana is hopeful that he will be heading home on Wednesday or early Thursday “without having to care for any sheep”.

While the Eid celebrations in 2019 were muted due to a curfew imposed across Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution just a week before the festival, several restrictions in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 saw business activity remaining almost suspended.

Irfan Ahmad, the managing director of Modern Sweets and Confectionery, said the sales have improved this year.

“There was a lot of confusion ahead of Eid as regards whether the restrictions will be more stringent or eased. The easing of the restrictions has come in the nick of time,” he said.

Ahmad, however, said most of the city bakeries had cut down on production as they were not expecting much of a footfall.

While last year health experts had advised against distribution of meat on Eid, this year they have asked people to allow only those vaccinated against Covid handle the ritual of sacrifice and meat distribution.

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