18 May 2020
Celebrating Eid al-Fitr during the Coronavirus: MCB releases guidance on how to celebrate safely
Eid Al-Fitr, the celebration at the end of Ramadan, is due to be marked by Muslims across the world on the 24th of May, subject to the sighting of the new moon. With the UK having been in lockdown since 23rd March and the holy month of Ramadan having been observed at home, the Muslim Council of Britain has issued guidance on how to celebrate Eid subject to the lockdown measures in place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Though Eid is traditionally marked with congregational prayers in mosques and parks followed by parties amongst families and friends, Eid in the time of the Coronavirus will look markedly different. Places of worship have remained closed for at least nine weeks along with large gatherings, and the latest UK government guidelines mean that this is not possible.
Instead, Muslims are being encouraged to celebrate Eid in the same way as Ramadan: from home, and virtually with friends and family. The special prayers for the day of Eid – usually prayed in mosques or in parks – may be prayed within households, with gifts exchanged by post, and the celebration to be shared virtually.
With lockdown restrictions varying between England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, specific guidance for each nation has been developed between the Muslim Council of Britain, and its affiliates the Muslim Council of Scotland, the Muslim Council of Wales and Belfast Islamic Centre with the variations in public health advice. For example, Muslims in England who are not self-isolating are also encouraged to go outdoors with other members of their households as per the updated lockdown restrictions in England, though Muslims in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are to remain indoors.
Commenting, MCB’s Secretary General, Harun Khan said:
“Muslims have shown great resolve throughout Ramadan and this pandemic, adapting to a different way of life and making the best out of the month by attending virtual iftars with friends and family, and live streaming religious services to their homes.
“Whilst Eid away from the mosques and from our loved ones is unprecedented and will be a source of great sadness in communities across the country, Muslim communities will adapt and find the best way to still celebrate this holy day whilst aligning to the latest guidance. Some will pray Eid prayers in families within their households, and virtual gatherings can be arranged to still connect with loved ones.
“As ever, everyone’s number one priority must be to help save lives and celebrating Eid at home is the best way to do this. We use this holy day to pray for the safety of our communities and our key workers and a swift an end to this pandemic.”
Latest coronavirus advice can be found online at: www.mcb.org.uk/coronavirus