This year’s Eid-ul-Fitr observances in Tobago will be scaled down significantly owing to the restrictions on congregating to combat the spread of covid19.
So said Imam Kameal Ali, head of the Tobago Muslim Association.
Eid-ul-Fitr is being observed by Muslims around the world on Sunday.
“This year, our celebration will be totally different,” Ali told Newsday.
“Every year, we normally cater for about 300 people. This year, we will just have one Eid prayer with about five persons and then we will disperse because the restrictions (covid19) are still in place.”
Ali, who is based at the Al Tawbah Masjid, Lowlands, said the observance usually comprises about 175 worshippers and an additional 150 guests.
“So compare 300 people to the five we are going to have.”
Ali said the five people will be selected based on merit.
“I will look at those who are regulars to the mosque, maybe some of the senior people.”
He said when the country returns to some semblance of normalcy, Muslims will host a grand celebration with the communities.
The Tobago Muslim community comprises about 200 members from 40 families.
The Imam said covid19 has also affected worship during the holy month of Ramadhan, which precedes Eid-ul-Fitr.
“This was totally a different Ramadhan. It is the first time in my life I have experienced a Ramadhan like this.
“We always accustomed to going to mosque everyday with many people. But this year, the majority of the fasting was done home because of the current situation our country faces.”
Ali added: “So, the lesson is that we should never take things for granted because when things are taken away from us is then we realise how precious life is.”
He said the Government continues to do an excellent job of managing covid19.
Ali said Eid-ul-Fitr commemorates the end of Ramadhan in which Muslims fast from the break of dawn until sunset for a period of 30 days.
“It is a very rigorous fasting. We keep away from food, drink, marital relations during that time.
“It is a command from God in the Quran that we keep our fast and when the month of Ramadhan is over, the Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr as a day of celebration, giving and charity.”
Ali said Muslims are not allowed to fast on the day of the Eid observance.