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How Eid ul Adha in Pakistan Will Look Like amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Pakistan will celebrate Eid ul Adha 2020 on Saturday, August 1. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pakistani government has imposed a smart lockdown from 28th July to 5th August. After Eid Ul Fitr, this is the second main religious festival for Muslims which is celebrated after the completion of the pilgrimage of Holy Kaaba in Makkah.

There are national holidays in Muslim countries on this day. Even some other countries allow Muslim communities to take Holidays for this Eid. The day is marked with a sacrifice of a certain animal followed by congregational prayers. 

How to Stay Safe from Coronavirus During Eid ul Adha Celebration?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) issued guidelines for Eid Adha 2020 to curb the spread of coronavirus. Mandees (animal markets) have a great potential to infect the masses which is why they are requested to adhere to these guidelines. So unlike previous Eid when the markets became jam-packed with people. there are chances of fewer crowds in animal markets.

For Local authorities

  1. Elders and children are discouraged to attend prayers in congregation.
  2. Every Muslim is required to bring his own prayer mat. 
  3. Maximize online buying/selling and minimize crowd at the markets
  4. Allocating large space of animal slaughter
  5. No one can enter markets without mask and following SOPs
  6. Checking temperatures and sanitizing of all those who enter and exit the market
  7. Those with flu or cough are not allowed to enter
  8. Small groups will be allowed to enter in intervals
  9. Promoting social distancing and frequent hand wash in forms of notices and print media
  10. Identifying medical and first aid services in the close proximity of animal market

For Animal Vendors

  1. Every seller must wear a mask and gloves
  2. Wash hands and sanitize frequently
  3. Stalls must be set 2 meters apart from each other in a way that there’s adequate space for animals. Local authorities can help in the matter
  4. No physical contact between vendors and customers
  5. Vendors are advised to sanitize the area which is frequently used by the customers.
  6. Vendors with fever, cough, or flu are not allowed to sell animals until they arrange their replacements

For Customers

  1. Wearing a mask is mandatory
  2. Buyers are not allowed to touch animals unless they wear gloves
  3. People with cough, flu or fever are not allowed in the markets
  4. Guidance to maintain 2 meters’ distance from other customers and sellers
  5. Sanitize and wash hands before and after visiting the animal market
  6. Cooperate with the staff to ensure safety guidelines
  7. Report non-compliant vendors to the local authorities

It seems like incorporating coronavirus prevention measurements during Eid Ul Adha is a way to go. The slaughtering sites will be kept away from residential areas but it is also advised to avoid crowding at the sites. People should and promote respiratory hygiene by covering during coughing and sneezing properly.

General Prevention for Congregational Prayers

Reportedly none of the COVID 19 outbreaks could be traced back to the mosques so they will be kept open for Eid Ul Adha. Public is requested to maintain that position to curb the spread of coronavirus as quickly as possible. Here are some general guidelines for Eid prayers:

  1. Avoid congestion by separating entrances and exits so everyone can move in one direction
  2. Conducting thermal screening at the entrances
  3. Post male and female coronavirus safety officers at the mosques
  4. Using hand sanitizers before entering and exiting the mosques
  5. Worshippers must wear mask in mosques and bring their own prayer mat
  6. Use a measurement tool to mark prayer spots with 6 feet distance so it is easy to follow for public
  7. Encourage absolution (wudhu) from home and discourage embracing each other at the prayers
  8. Sick, elderly, and children below the age of 15 are advised not to attend prayers

Authorities who are managing the mosques must adhere to the safety guidelines and also clean and disinfect the mosque areas vigilantly. Some object like switches, doorknobs, railings, and water taps are frequently used so must be cleaned and disinfected accordingly. 

General Prevention for Slaughtering Animals on Eid ul Adha

WHO has strongly advised countries to avoid the act of sacrifice at homes or on streets. In most countries, there are designated slaughterhouses with expert butchers for public to bring their sacrificial animals. Reportedly some famous slaughterhouses are much more sanitary than sacrifice at home or streets. WHO strongly advised against this behavior during the outbreak. It is a challenging task to perform the act of sacrifice amidst the pandemic. Even with the lengthy debate about prevention measures, there is no guarantee of protection from COVID-19.

Pakistan has a huge problem with hygiene. Often animal wastes after sacrifice are spread across the street along with rubbish. According to the government, it is everyone’s responsibility to clean their waste and the public thinks that it is the job of authorities to clean their waste. The act of sacrifice represents the love for God, leaving the waste out for others to pick up does not represent love for God. 

WHO recommendations for hygienic sacrifice are mostly similar to Islamic guidelines like ensuring proper animal management from procurement to execution. It is recommended to plan isolation spaces for sick animals and avoid slaughtering them. Public is advised to contain the excitement of watching an animal get sacrificed in order to avoid overcrowding. Waste management companies must make sure all by-products of sacrificed animals are disposed of properly and contingencies plans are in place to contain any other potential outbreak.

Online Qurbani is Relatively a Convenient Sacrifice Method

To avoid making dangerous mistakes, Muslims can easily perform the religious act with the help of internet. Many organizations started to offer online Qurbani long ago but it had picked up pace this year due to pandemic. Butchers have also increased their charges which are alarming for an average earning citizen. In this regard, Muslims can utilize online platforms to perform sacrifice.

Muslims can simply sacrifice financially and the organization offering online Qurbani will be responsible for procuring the animal, slaughtering it, preparing the meat, and rightfully delivering to those who are in need. These organizations also tend to have a freezing facility which can protect the meat until it is being distributed.

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