Millions of Muslims in Indonesia observed this year’s Idul Adha (Day of Sacrifice) under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and health protocols that limited the scale of festivities, but those taking part in the celebration say they can still find solace in the holiday, both with and without their family.

The Religious Affairs Ministry, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and major Muslim groups have advised people living in areas at high risk of COVID-19 transmission to perform Idul Adha prayers at home, while those in safer areas were asked to comply with strict health protocols if they wanted to join mass prayers in mosques.

In Jakarta, the city administration banned mosques located in 33 community units (RWs) categorized as red zones from performing Idul Adha mass prayers.

At least 108,376 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Indonesia, with 5,131 dead, as of Friday.

Some mosques outside the red zones, such as the Al Azhar Mosque in South Jakarta and Sunda Kelapa Great Mosque in Central Jakarta, hosted mass prayers while implementing strict health protocols — requiring worshipers to wear masks, have their body temperature checked and maintain physical distance — as they cut the number of attendants to half of their capacity.

In Yogyakarta too, the Kauman Great Mosque, for instance, held an Idul Adha mass prayer for local residents at 60 percent of its capacity, reducing it from 1,500 to 950 people, so that worshipers could keep a distance of 1.5 meters between each other, kompas.com reported.

The MUI also recommended that residents who wished to perform qurban (animal sacrifice) for Idul Adha go to an abattoir in order to prevent crowds during the ritual, and that they have a professional carry out the qurban.

Some mosques, including Sunda Kelapa Mosque, decided not to hold the sacrifice ritual in order to avoid a gathering of people in the area.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also attended an Idul Adha prayer with only his family and a few aides while abiding by the health protocols in front of his official residence in the Bayurini Pavilion of Bogor Palace in West Java.

“Idul Adha 2020 comes as we are enduring a global pandemic,” Jokowi tweeted on Friday, “We make sacrifices by reducing travel and physical encounters while at the same time, we are required to take care of each other and get closer to our families.”

“Hopefully, this pandemic shall pass soon.”


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