How our Muslim communities have been preparing for Eid in a year like no other
Muslim children in North Kirklees have been getting ready this week to celebrate the festival of Eid-Ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadhan.
The time of year was just as important for parents who have spent the past several days planning household celebrations as the country gradually prepares to ease further Covid lockdown measures.
The month of Ramadhan, especially its final ten-day phase, has always been a very spiritual and charitable period for the faithful, both inside homes as well as at the local mosques.
Some community leaders were busy using the final few days of Ramadhan to distribute food packs such as scrumptious free chicken and chips to local children in their neighbourhoods.
There were also other types of activity happening outside in our communities.
It has become a culture for barbers’ shops to get fully booked as youngsters turn up for their usual Eid haircut. Other youngsters were out with parents shopping and buying new clothes.
Muslim bakeries were also busy taking last minute orders on large cakes to cover family gatherings.
The holy month this year also coincided with local elections. So parents had to find some time in between Eid preparations and the daily school-run to cast their votes at local polling stations.
Meanwhile, worshippers attended mosques during the evenings to join in communal Tarawih prayers - under some unique strict social distancing guidelines.
Everyone had to bring their own prayer mats, along with a carrier bag for placing footwear. Shoes were not allowed to be put on racks.
Face masks had to be worn inside the prayer halls, and everyone in the congregations had to sit apart from each other. This was Ramadhan in 2021.
Practising Muslims have over the past month been going without food and water as a way of getting closer to the Lord.
The four weeks of Ramadhan fasting came to an end on Wednesday evening.
The festival of Eid-Ul-Fitr is being celebrated this morning (Thursday, May 13) and the celebrations will continue over the weekend.
Families will be able to get together for Eid with far more optimism than last year, as the vaccination programme offers a glimmer of hope that things should soon start to get back to normal.
Eid-Ul-Fitr is a day for Muslim residents to enjoy a variety of mouth-watering dishes such as biryani rice, curry dishes, samosas and kebabs, along with halwa desserts.
Senior Muslim scholar of Kirklees, Mufti Shams-Ul-Huda Khan Misbahi, said: “Eid-Ul-Fitr is a time of thanksgiving for those practising Muslims who have just finished their four weeks of Ramadhan fasting.
“It is also a time to reflect and to think about those less fortunate who are unable to celebrate Eid for various reasons.
“At this moment, our thoughts and especially our prayers are with the population of India that is going through the midst of a very severe Covid outbreak.
“This second wave has brought the Indian nation’s whole health infrastructure to its knees and taken the lives of many people.
“Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians all are caught up in a frightening killer pandemic. This is a huge humanitarian tragedy.
“Therefore my message is do celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitr but do not forget those who are unable to do so.”