NEW DELHI: In the final lap of Ramzan, just a couple of days before the last fasting day, the schedule of congregational Eid namaaz at mosques across the national capital were put up in Muslim neighborhoods. Residents of the Walled City would get calls from exhilarated friends and relatives staying in NCR cities to check on prayer timings of historic mosques — Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri or Eidgah near Sadar Bazaar.
The customary enthusiasm is conspicuously absent this year as all places of worship in the city including three large mosques are shut because of the lockdown implemented to curb the spread of the Covid-19.
Only a limited number of mosque staff and people residing in its complex are permitted to pray. When a handful of devout will offer Eid namaaz at the city’s mosques, the occasion will go down as a historic first.
Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz, former VC of Maulana Azad National Urdu University recalled that in the past, Eid prayers were not held in some mosques due to curfew following the communal tension in specific areas but this is the first time that all mosques in the city are going to hold congregational namaaz with restricted attendance.
“Jama Masjid was closed for months after the 1857 rebellion when it was converted into a British Army camp; namaaz was not held during that period. The last time that Eid prayers were not held here can be dated back to 1987. Curfew was imposed due to communal tension after riots in Meerut. My family went to a local mosque for the prayer on Eid,” said Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid.
On Friday, only mosque staff, about 5-12, attended Jumu’atul-Wida (last Friday prayer during Ramzan) prayer at the mosques.Given the restriction orders, heads of religious bodies and mosques have issued an advisory to people to pray at home on Eid.
“I have asked people to stay indoors and offered ‘Chaasht Namaaz’ instead of annual Eid prayer at home. We must follow the government order,” said Shahi Imam of Masjid Fatehpuri Mufti Mukarram Ahmed.
The Walled city, especially, Jama Masjid area is accustomed to fervent Eid celebrations. However, the mood in the market is sombre this time as Muslims are not indulging in extravagant shopping. “People are only coming out to purchase daily necessities. There are about 450 shops in Matia Mahal. However, only 10-15 selling groceries and other essential are open,” said Akram Qureshi, president of Bazaar Matia Mahal Traders Association.