Canadian Muslims are set to celebrate a very subdued Eid al-Adha on Friday, July 31 with restricted Eid prayers and family gatherings due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threat.
“As we gradually and safely transition back to a new normal through the pandemic, Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) is working hard to ensure that our communities can safely celebrate this Eid with their community,” said the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), a national Muslim organization, in a statement. “Eid prayers will be facilitated in each city through the local MAC centres. Public safety directives will be enforced.”
This year, Eid al-Adha in Canada will be marked by smaller prayer services, family gatherings limited to immediate household ‘bubbles’ and the large celebratory festivals replaced by a few drive-thru events.
Canadian Muslims, as all Muslims throughout the world, are grappling with the catastrophic changes in their personal and religious life brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mosques, Islamic Centres and religious schools were closed in mid-March but over the last 6 weeks communal services are being allowed with a restricted number of worshippers who are required to wear masks and practice physical distancing.
In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, places of worship must limit indoor services to 30% of the building capacity to allow for physical distancing and other social gatherings are restricted to 10 people.
Mosques have had to reconfigure their facilities to accommodate this new normal and put in place procedures to control the flow of attendees into their buildings as well as document worshippers on entry, should contact tracing be necessary.
In March as the number of COVID-19 cases grew in Canada, the Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Task Force was formed as a collaborative platform to bring ogether Canadian Muslim medical, religious and community leaders, and organizations to coordinate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We also collaborate internationally with the American and British Muslim COVID-19 task forces in a similar manner. We aim to have broad representation and input from across the country and invite Canadian Muslim organizations to join our task force,” said the Task Force.
The Task Force issues guidelines, regular directives and infographics to assist the Muslim community, including a recent ‘Eid-ul-Adha Recommendation Infographics’
ACCOMMODATING WORSHIPPERS FOR EID
Mosques across the country have been working hard to accommodate worshippers safely since the limited reopening was allowed.
“We, as a community, have worked hard to adapt our daily lives and the way in which we practice Islam in order to control the spread of the coronavirus,” said the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan (IAOS) in a statement. “We have all made sacrifices these past few months and we must continue to be vigilant to avoid unravelling our tireless efforts.”
In the province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) the main mosque will be holding Eid prayers outdoors.
“The Muslim Society of PEI is planning to hold Eid Prayer in the backyard of Masjid Dar As-Salam,” advised the mosque management. “We ask people who will be attending to wear a mask, maintain a physical distance of 2 meters at all times, bring your own prayer mat and family members should pray together.”
In the province of Manitoba, Manitoba Islamic Association (MIA) have made arrangements for multiple Eid prayers at two locations for a limited number of people while cautioning community members of the risks of public gatherings.
“We have severe limitations on the number of people who can be accommodated for Eid prayers. Allah will reward all of those who are patient and choose to stay home and pray with their families, insha Allah,” advised the mosque. “Also, while we will strive to follow provincial guidelines for outdoor events, by attending Eid prayer you accept the fact that you are choosing to attend a public event that carries with it a measure of risk of exposure to COVID-19.”