Filipino Muslims celebrate Eid'l Fitr at home as virus threat lingers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2020 12:34 PM | Updated as of May 24 2020 01:51 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Quirino Grandstand was empty of the usual throng of Filipino Muslims during the celebration of Eid'l Fitr or the end of Ramadan Sunday as Metro Manila remained on a modified lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Thousands previously gathered at the Philippine capital's largest park at daybreak, bringing food to share with their families to mark the religious occasion.

Mass gatherings, however, are still prohibited as the Philippines fights the pandemic, which has so far claimed 863 lives in the country and infected 12,914 others.

"Through our strong faith, Muslims around the world were able to solemnly observe the Holy Month of Ramadan despite the ongoing global pandemic," Ahod "Al Haj Murad" Ebrahim, interim chief minister of the Bangsamoro Government, said in a statement.

"The transition was not easy, going from our usual community Iftars and night prayers to conducting it all at home, and in the company of only our immediate family."

Residents of Zamboanga City prayed in their living rooms, garages, and vacant lots while following physical distancing measures on Sunday to mark the celebration of Eid'l Fitr or the end of Ramadan. Photo courtesy of Ben Nasser Isnain

In Zamboanga City, mosques remained closed in compliance with the national government's guidelines and a local quarantine policy prohibiting residents from going outside their homes on Sunday.

Residents prayed in their living rooms, garages, and vacant lots while following physical distancing measures.

Others on Saturday distributed food and other assistance to fellow residents as a way of celebrating Eid'l Fitr.

Murad said relief support and cash aid were distributed amid the ongoing pandemic in the Bangsamoro region.

"We still have a long way to go but much like the familiar virtues during the holy month of Ramadhan – patience (Sab’r) and Tawaakul (trust in the Almighty’s plans), we will overcome this crisis and restart our ever-resilient region, in Shaa’Allah," he said.

"Now more than ever, we need to cooperate with one another as we navigate our way towards building a stronger Bangsamoro anchored with the tenets of Moral Governance."

This year's observance of the holy month of Ramadan has tested the country's resolve as "individuals and as a people," according to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr, who also serves as chief implementer of the National Task Force on COVID-19.

"Despite these trials, members of the Islamic faith have shown greater compassion, understanding, and solidarity, while observing the obligations and traditions in accordance with the fatwa of the Grand Mufti and the Darul Ifta," he said in a statement.

"As we continue to sustain the gains of peace in the Bangsamoro, may we also continue to help those who are most in need, and pray for the health and recovery of our nation as we heal as one. Eid al-Fitr Mubarak!" Galvez said.

President Rodrigo Duterte wished Filipino Muslims a "solemn and blessed occasion" as he urged them to be "agents of change."

He also urged them to "remain committed in breaking down barriers that divide and further estrange us from one another."

"As you celebrate the Breaking of the Fast, may the clarity of thought and wisdom that you have attained from this undertaking inspire you to be the living examples of what is best in the Islamic faith," he said in a message.

"It is likewise my hope that your time in prayer has nourished your inner strength and fortitude to stay true to the inherent goodness of humanity as we shun the evils that permeate our society." --With reports from Jekki Pascual and Noning Antonio, ABS-CBN News