Central Ohio Islamic community celebrates Eid with social-distanced prayers

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Mosques around the globe and here in the U.S. are holding their first social-distanced Eid prayers, Friday.  

It’s the second of two Islamic holidays, which means the “festival of sacrifice” and marks the end of the pilgrimage season. Normally the holiday is celebrated with group prayers and feasts with a sacrificed animal, often a lamb. But with COVID-19 still a threat in our community the Islamic community in Central Ohio knew praying together would be difficult but they figured out a way to make it work. 

“They are very cognizant of the fact of social distancing.” 

Muhammad Azhar is the Director of the Noor Islamic Center. He says they have been planning and thinking of ways to hold the Eid prayers safety. “We have been all locked up because of the pandemic so any event like this has more importance and more value.” 

Every other car space was empty and everyone would get out and pray in front or next to their vehicle. Some people walked into the area and prayed in the grass. They held two prayers, one at 7:30 and another at 9:30. Azhar says both of the prayers were full of cars and even though they seemed packed, it was significantly less than a normal year for Eid prayer. Masks were worn and required social distancing with others. 

Abdul Donal, the Emam, or Spiritual Leader of Noor says the holiday may have looked different but the meaning remains the same. 

“This is the most beloved day to Allah, the creator of heaven and earth,” noted Donal.  

And if anything, this holy day and each person’s prayers may be needed more than ever before. 

 “In addition to science and medicine, we need prayers. With our efforts we have to protect ourselves from the virus,” noted Donal. “We care about everyone. I’m sure it will be OK with the prayers to God.”  

Azhar says that for those who were turned away or couldn’t make it today had the chance to pray in their cars or in their homes. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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