A different kind of Eid'l Fitr

IN THE wake of the worldwide pandemic, a different celebration marks Eid'l Fitr for the Muslim community.

Uztad Rohola Muripuga said families were pushed to celebrate the end of the Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims go fasting in the daylight hours and devote greater time to their faith in the confines of their homes.

Muripuga, regional Da-wah consultant and former director of the Discover Islam, said this is the first time in history that the end of Ramadan has been affected in this way, citing even the war in Marawi did not prevent a celebration outside the war-torn city year ago.

"We do not know who is infected (with Covid 19) kaya masakit man sa amin, we have to comply," Muripuga said.

The Khutbatul Eid (Eid Sermon), done twice in the year during the Eid-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, has also been adjusted but nonetheless celebrated in private by each family.

"The wisdom of this is for all, di na naming nagawa," Muripuga said.

Baguio City has disallowed the convergence during the Eid'l Fitr but in a message said: "The entire officialdom of the City of Baguio joins our Muslim brothers and sisters in the celebration of Eid Al Fitr or festival of breaking fast that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and ushers in the start of the Shawwal or the tenth month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar. As we continue to struggle against the on-going coronavirus-19 global pandemic that has caused the loss of so many innocent lives and wrought havoc on the world economy, we should not be disheartened but rather put up a united front, work together and never lose faith that we will all come out victorious in the end. With our unshakeable faith and unceasing prayers to God or Allah, we will all heal as one."

The sermon, which is supposed to be a general advice and information in Islam address to the Muslim Community, was now done likewise in private as mass gathering is still banned.

Muripuga said Eid'l Fitr is a time for Muslims to converge and gather with family and friends in celebration, partaking in meals and touching base with one another and a chance to strengthen their faith.

Has the virus taken away our religion?

Muripuga said although Covid-19 has affected the way the Muslim community celebrates the Eid'l Fitr, it has not weakened the faith, but instead made it stronger.

"It has pushed us to be more faithful and has not become a hindrance, it has made us stronger," Muripuga said, adding that families have bonded since the enhanced community quarantine has pushed all to be together daily with the faith serving as the binding light for all in these trying times.

On May 15, the diocese of Baguio released guidelines allowing churches to open only for personal visits and prayer but not for the celebration of holy mass.

Allowed services but limited to 10 people are infant and adult baptisms, holy mass, wedding masses, house and building blessings, funeral masses in church, homes and funeral parlors, mass for the dead in funeral homes and residences, masses for anniversaries of the dead.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP0 agreed a set of guidelines when parishes will be allowed to hold religious services with people in attendance.

The list includes strict new measures on social distancing, use of face masks by worshippers, and installation of foot baths.

The CBCP advisory stated the faithful continue to receive communion in the hand and no holding hands when reciting the "Our Father" during Mass.

But church officials discouraged priests from wearing face masks or gloves during the celebration of the Eucharist and instead remain more than 1 meter from the congregation during the Mass.

The liturgical guidelines also pushed the reduction of choir members who will sing during the Mass in order to keep physical distancing.

During the offertory, instead of passing baskets from person to person in each of the pews, there can be designated boxes or collection points where the faithful can place their contributions.

The episcopal conference also suggested that the elderly, children and the sick be dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass while the threat of the virus is still widespread.

And since many of the lay ministers of communion are elderly and vulnerable to the infection, parishes are urged to train younger Eucharistic ministers.


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