Muslims in Nigeria have joined their counterparts around the world to mark the Eid-El-Fitr as they bid farewell to the fasting month of Ramadan.
However, this year’s occasion could not be celebrated as the usual practice due to the ravaging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In most nations across the world, authorities have taken measures, such as the suspension of Eid prayers and outdoor festivals among other celebratory events, to curb the spread of the disease.
Eid-El-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and celebrations would normally begin depending on the sighting of the moon.
Traditionally, Eid is celebrated for three days in all Muslim-majority countries but in Nigeria, the government has declared Monday and Tuesday as public holidays.
In his Sallah message to the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari urged Muslims to keep their spirits up in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, the pandemic caught the world off guard and has dampened what would otherwise have been a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful.
The President noted that the pandemic has also taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.
He said this year’s fasting period was challenging for Muslims because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship.
President Buhari listed them to include the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an, as well as travelling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.
He stressed that although it was not easy to give up many of those important duties and activities, it was important to do so to limit the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The President, therefore, commended the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines.
As of Saturday night, Nigeria has reported 7,526 cases of COVID-19, out of which 2,174 people have been discharged and 221 patients dead.
The fight against coronavirus is still on and governments in many nations have continued to step up restrictions that will help curtail the spread of the disease.
They have also appealed to citizens, including Muslims to abide by all necessary guidelines for their safety as they celebrate Eid-El-Fitr.