In a press briefing held last week UAE authorities declared that mosques and other places of worship would remain closed during Eid Al-Fitr, which will fall on May 23 or 24 this year, based on moon-sighting.
According to Gulf News, Spokesman for National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management, Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, stated "The decision to adjust the times of the national sterilisation program [now from 8pm to 6am] during the Eid Al Fitr period instead of a total lockdown came after considering all the information available, especially the readiness of various sectors and businesses in the country to receive the public and keep them safe, such as shopping outlets, malls and others."
Dr Saif went on to say "We call on the public to abide by the restrictions during Eid and avoid gatherings or any other violations that may pose dangers to the community." He emphasized that any form of violation will result in legal penalties and fines.
Eid Al-Fitr will significantly differ this year due to the global pandemic. Some traditions are discouraged, such as gifting cash (called ‘Eid-iya’) to members of the family; this is in alignment with some studies stating the possibility of virus transmission through bank notes.
Commercial centres including shopping malls will be open to the public with the implementation of strict precautionary measures, such as operating at 30% capacity, forbidding entry to over 60 years olds and under 12 year olds and constantly maintaining physical distance.
Outdoor exercise is permitted given it's within close proximity of the house and only between the hours of 6:00 to 20:00. Individuals can exercise for a maximum of two hours and exercise groups are limited to three people; all must maintain a physical distance of two metres a part. It is vital that masks are worn at all times.
Moreover, spokesman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi, said “as per the Emirates Fatwa Council, Eid Al Fitr prayers should be performed at home. Taking all precautionary measures to protect yourself and your family is a religious and national commitment."
He added 10 minutes before the Eid prayer there will be a TV broadcast of prayers at mosques, after which everyone should pray at home. Mosques throughout the UAE will broadcast the Eid call to prayer 10 minutes before prayer time, keeping in line with Eid rituals and spirits.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman expressed the importance of “showing joy and pleasure in Eid, and dealing with the current circumstances positively. "[You can do so by] exchanging Eid greetings with family, relatives, neighbours and friends, through modern means of communication."
Lead image courtesy of Instagram/dubai.uae.dxb