Istiqlal Mosque won’t hold Eid al-Adha prayer amid pandemic: minister

Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque. Photo: musnahterinjak / WIkipedia Commons
Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque. Photo: musnahterinjak / WIkipedia Commons

The largest mosque in Southeast Asia will not hold an Eid al-Adha prayer for the upcoming Islamic holiday on Friday, Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said, as officials have yet to deem a communal prayer of such a massive scale safe at the moment.

Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque regularly draws tens of thousands of worshippers for Eid prayer, including, traditionally, the sitting president of Indonesia. However, there is to be no Eid prayer at all this year following the cancellations of the Eid al-Adha prayer and the Eid al-Fitr prayer in May.

“Looking at COVID-19 developments, especially in Jakarta, Istiqlal will not hold the Eid al-Adha prayer,” Fachrul said in a written statement issued yesterday.

“The process [to comply with health protocols] would not have been easy and there would have been a huge potential for crowds.”

Just like for Eid al-Fitr, the government and Islamic organizations are urging Muslims to perform the Eid al-Adha prayer at home should they live in an area that poses high risk of coronavirus infection.

Even so, mosques in the capital and around the country are still going to hold Eid al-Adha prayer — traditionally performed in an open space or field — with added health precautions.

Another ritual traditional to Eid al-Adha is the qurban livestock sacrifice, with their meat distributed to the needy. In Eid al-Adha of previous years, the sacrifice of cows, goats, and sheep took place in public spaces, but in this year’s edition, regional governments have limited the activity to licensed slaughterhouses to prevent crowding.

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