THE Muslim leaders based in Cebu urged their fellow believers in Islam to continue their sacrifices as they celebrate Eid al-Adha on Friday, July 31, 2020, amid the crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Alex Minalang, director of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Visayas, encouraged his fellow Muslims to help the efforts in slowing down the spread of Covid-19 by wearing masks and observing social distancing protocol.
“Hugging and shaking of hands are discouraged. Wearing of mask and using of alcohol are a must,” he said.
The pandemic, he said, has taught that not a single human being has control over the situation.
“Even the biggest and strongest country could fall down. But if we learn to sacrifice and detach ourselves from self-satisfaction and self-interest, we can help limit the spread of the virus and help save lives,” he said in a statement.
The NCMF Visayas leadership thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for declaring Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, a regular holiday by issuing Proclamation No. 985 on Wednesday, July 29.
Eid al-Adha, which follows the major Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr in May, honors Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham in the Christian world) for his willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to Allah.
Sacrificing in the face of a public health crisis is in a way a submission to the command of the “Almighty, believing a High Power is above all of the people and He has control over everything in this world,” said Minalang.
Eid al-Adha is a three-day celebration starting on July 31. In the Philippines, Republic Act 9849 mandates that Eid al-Adha must be observed as a regular holiday.
This year’s observance is subject to existing community quarantine and social distancing measures.
Aside from personal sacrifice, Minalang said Eid al-Adha also encourages sharing one’s blessings to the community.
Minalang said after the Eid al-Adha congregational prayer follows the Qurbani operations—the slaughtering of animals such as cows, sheep or goats will follow.
The meat of the slaughtered animals will be distributed to the Muslim families, especially the poor.
“Charity works are increased during this time,” Minalang said.
In Cebu, there are more than 28,000 Muslims. In the whole Visayas, there are more than 360,000 Muslims, according to Minalang.
Based on the record of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the Muslim population in the country in 2015 was 5.57 percent. However, a 2012 estimate by the NCMF stated that there were 10.7 million Muslims, or 11 percent of the country’s total population. (WBS)