The Muslim community in Seychelles for the second straight year celebrated the religious holiday Eid-ul-Fitr at home with family instead of in larger community gatherings or with a traditional congregational prayer in accordance with the COVID-19 measures in place in the island nation.
Normally, the Islamic groups in the 115 island archipelago join together at Stad Popiler in the capital, Victoria, to celebrate the event, which marks the end of Ramadam and its one month of daytime fasting.
The National Muslim Council of Seychelles said that all Muslims should offer Eid prayers at home.
The Council’s chairperson, Imam Idris Yusuf, told SNA that although “we are celebrating at home, we should join together in prayers in our heart. This is a day for us to celebrate, but also renovate our faith and what we believe in as Muslims. Most of the time around the world you hear negative things about Muslims, but today we pray to make a difference. I would like to wish all Muslims a happy Eid-ul Fitr day.”
Eid-ul-Fitr is the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal and though it is not a public holiday in Seychelles, the law stipulates that it is at the discretion of the employers to allow Muslim workers a day off.
In his message to the Muslim community, President Wavel Ramkalawan conveyed his greetings for Eid-ul Fitr.
“I would also like to congratulate them on having completed a successful Ramadan, regarded as an auspicious opportunity for spiritual renewal. May the Almighty reward your fasts, prayers and supplications,” he said.
Ramkalawan said that last year Muslims had to forego the congregational and community-based events as everyone complied with the measures introduced to safeguard the nation from the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year the restrictions have been moderately eased.
“I want to particularly salute all the Muslims and their leaders for the excellent way they have responded to the call of the Public Health Authority to scale down congregational prayers and other related activities in compliance with the need to place national health, safety and interest first,” said Ramkalawan.
He added that “may the situation improve for your next and bigger festival, Eid-ul-Adha, in just over two months’ time.”
Jamila Figaro, a member of Seychelles’ Muslim community, said that she understands that there should not be any gatherings at this point in time, “but it is also sad as we cannot join together as a big family to celebrate. It is a day that we usually join to celebrate after one month fasting. But I guess we do not have any option and it will be like this for a while.”
Figaro said that she usually organises something with her sister and would go to the congregation prayer in the morning and dinner at night.