Muslims across the country yesterday chose to celebrate this year’s Eid Adha in smaller groups rather than the large congregation of worshippers that usually characterise the morning prayers held to commemorate the Festival of Sacrifice.
Rather than going to the various regional prayer grounds that characterised previous celebrations, many worshippers (beautifully dressed celebrants) congregated at their respective community mosques to pray as agreed upon and directed by the various regional Imams.
This year, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for them to gather to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr, the first festival after the Ramadan, due to the restriction on social and religious gatherings, thus many took advantage of the eased restrictions to come together to pray and celebrate,
Though restrictions imposed in March to curb the spread of COVID-19 have been eased to have a number of worshippers at the place of worship for two hours, the leaders in the various communities in adherence to the safety protocols, kept the prayers.
Many of the regional Chief Imams used the occasion to preach peace and pray for peaceful general elections in December
The worshippers said they were happy to be able to come together to pray as the day also fell on Friday, their normal day for Jummah.
“It is indeed not in normal times and we all know that the pandemic is still with us, so we are happy and grateful that we could come together to pray at our mosque as during the Eid El Fitr we were restricted to our homes,” Alhaji Rabiu Tanko, a Muslim at Bolgatanga, told the Daily Graphic.
At the Sunyani Zongo, where most of the activities were concentrated, sacrificial animals such as bulls, sheep and goats were tied at the entrances of almost all the houses for the occasion, reports Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah.
Those animals were sacrificed after the morning prayers which were held at the community mosque.
After the prayers, a number of the Muslim youth, dressed in their festive clothes, were seen parading from one end of the community to the other.
In an interview, a Muslim opinion leader, Alhaji Baba Gausu, called on the youth in the various Zongo communities not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to cause mayhem before, during and after the 2020 general election.
"Islam is a religion of peace and we should, therefore, exhibit our faith as such", he stated and called on them to comport themselves while celebrating the occasion.
From Bolgatanga, Vincent Amenuveve reports that Muslims did not gather at the Bolgatanga Crafts Village park for their usual congregational prayers and sacrifice to mark the occasion.
Led by the Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Adam, Muslims at their various mosques prayed for peaceful elections this year as well as for the leadership of the country for Allah to grant them wisdom to be able steer the affairs of the country in the face of the COVID-19 challenges.
After the prayers, some Muslims shared food with their neighbours, while others reached out to the needy as well to mark the occasion.
Eid prayers were not held yesterday at the Jubilee Park in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, to mark this year's Eid-ul-Adha celebration, which has been the venue for the annual Eid prayers, reports Samuel Duodu.
In a message to mark the celebration, the Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Ahmed, urged Muslims in the region to continue to observe the COVID-19 safety protocols including all the hygiene practices to help curb the spread of the virus.
A heavy downpour in Tamale did not prevent the people from attending the prayers in the various satellite mosques.
The Ambariya Sunni Community, however, held congregational prayers at a park at Nashegu, a suburb of Tamale, amid strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.
From Ho, Bright Selase Afavi reports that the acting Volta Regional Chief Imam, Alfa Anas Hamidu, advised the Muslim community, especially the youth, to desist from causing trouble before, during after the forthcoming December 7 general election and rather conduct themselves peacefully.
"Always they say the Zongo people are trouble causers so I urge you to disengage yourselves from any group of people that will influence you to cause trouble so that we can live in peace and harmony during the election", he added.
From the Koforidua Zongo in the New Juaben South Municipality of the Eastern Region, the Eastern Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Yussif Amudani Sulemana, led the prayers and urged Muslim youth in the Zongo communities in the region to shun political vigilantism since that would tarnish the image of Islam, reports Haruna Wumpuni.
He also advised them to say no to politicians who would want to use them to foment trouble at this year's elections.
According to him, Islam meant peace and submission to the will of Allah, saying that all Muslims must bear in mind to live with it at all times.
"We need absolute peace before, during and after the December polls,”he said.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for New Juaben South, Mr Isaac Appaw-Gyasi, who joined the prayers, entreated the worshippers to continue to pray for the nation so that the December elections would be conducted peacefully devoid of acrimony and rancour.
Prayers despite rains
From Wa, Emmanuel Modey reports that in spite of heavy rains earlier in the morning, Muslims gathered at the Wa Central Mosque where the sermon was preached by the new Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Yahaya Ahmed Nanjo.
In wishing them Allah's blessings and peace upon their homes and families, Alhaji Nanjo urged the worshippers not to live out the significance of the celebration. So just as Abraham did in obedience to Allah, he admonished them to be obedient to authority and patriotic in life.