Barely a few days to come, Muslims across the world would be celebrating Eid Adha. Eid Adha is one of the Islamic festivals that is celebrated in commemoration of the sacrifice made by prophet Ibrahim (AS) to Allah. Hajj is Islamic ritual that precedes the celebration of the Eid Adha.
Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam where Muslims with economic means are oblige to embark on journey to the holy land at least once in one’s lifetime.
Though, there are travelling restrictions on Hajj 2020 due to the global pandemic. Islamic scholars have interpreted the banning of traveling into another town or country during a pandemic like the coronavirus as a practice the prophet Muhammad (SAW) has stipulated as such.
In view of that, Saudi Arabia's imposition of a travelling ban on pilgrimages from other countries for the Hajj 2020 in particular is in order. However, Muslims who are already in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be able to perform the Hajj while observing protocols related to COVID-19.
Here in Ghana, the ecstasy that characterised the celebration of Eid is gathering momentum amid COVID-19 pandemic. From one community to the other you will notice cattle and sheep being tied for the pending sacrifice. As Muslims in Ghana start preparing for the Eid Adha celebration and the case count of COVID-19 increases, one would be wondering how the celebration will be carried out. How possible is Eid Adha 2020 in Ghana?
Government pronouncement of partial release of restrictions was to ensure the returns of normalcy. This has led to opening of places of worship with strict adherence to social distancing, washing of hands under running water, individuals sending their own Sajada to the mosque among others.
There are several precedents in the country for which reason the Eid Adha 2020 can be held at the various prayer grounds across the country.
For instance, the easing of the restrictions made it possible for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to organise its parliamentary primaries and later the acclamation of the president, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo as the flag bearer for NPP for December general election.
Also, independent State institutions like the National Identification Authority registration and distributing of cards and finally the Electoral Commission undertaking its constitutional mandate of compiling voter registration for December 2020 general elections.
These activities make it possible for Muslims in the country to go out and celebrate the Eid Adha. In each of the instances stated above, Muslims in the country participated in those activities.
It is worthy to point out that the relationship between the recovery and active cases make it also possible for the Eid activities to be observed in the various Eid grounds. The COVID-19 management team is on top of their task especially when one critically looks at the recovery rate of the infections.
However, the managers of the coronavirus must engage the various community leaders and Imams in the various Zongo communities for further measures towards ensuring social distancing, avoiding handshakes and hugging of one another as it forms part of the Eid rituals.
Again, there must be Veronica buckets with soaps and possibly hand sanitisers at vantage points such that all those coming to pray will wash their hands before joining the congregation.
With regards to people who had planned to honour this years’ Hajj but could not due Covid-19, it is important to point out that there are deeds mentioned by the prophet Muhammad (SAW) to possess such equal quantum of reward like someone who have embark on the pilgrims.
The travelling ban has presented alternatives for one to earn Allah’s reward as if it was the Hajj undertaken. Some of these deeds include; one observing Fajr prayer in congregation and after salam, sits at the same place to engage in Quran recitation or remembrance of Allah till the sunrise have a reward equally to performing Hajj and umrah combined.
Also, one going to the mosque to acquire or disseminate knowledge, fasting, going out to pray Eid-al-adha, fulfilment of needs of others, being kind and good to one’s mother among others are equal to performing hajj. So clearly, Muslims are blessed with alternative means of acquiring reward from Allah in this period of the COVID-19.
Over the years, categories of people who are neglected during the celebration of Eid are the students in the various boarding houses. Concerning the on-going West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), communities’ closer to or with Senior High Schools should try as much as possible to make provisions for the Muslim students and their friends to enjoy the day. COVID-19 is a period for showing love to the entire humanity. Long live Ghana.