ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) – Congregational, group prayer, and other public and private social gatherings related to the celebration of Eid’l Fitr 2021 next week have been temporarily suspended in Sulu.
In an executive order Friday, Gov. Abdusakur Tan, chairperson of the Sulu Task Force COVID-19, imposed a temporary ban on all types of gatherings due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the province.
Tan issued the directive following a consultative meeting Friday with Islamic religious groups, Jammah Tabligh, Sulu Ulama Council for Peace and Development, and other local sectors.
Also present during the meeting, which was held at the provincial capitol, were police and military officers and other members of the task force.
“For the good and health protection of the populace against COVID-19 virus, Eid’l Fitr prayer in all mosques, including outdoor congregation, is hereby temporarily suspended without sacrificing the reverential solemnity of the occasion,” Tan said in the order.
Tan said Saturday said he was compelled to issue the order after anticipating the huge number of Muslims joining the Eid prayer.
“The presence of vulnerable members of society like the elderly and children are also of high certainty,” he said.
The task force said Eid’l Fitr will fall on May 11 or 12 depending on the sighting of the new moon scheduled this Monday.
Dr. Fahra Omar, Integrated Provincial Health Office chief, reported that 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases with two deaths have been recorded in Sulu from May 1 to 7.
Meanwhile, Tan said Taraweeh prayers shall be allowed to continue as long as they maintain the required minimum health protocols.
Taraweeh is Arabic that means “to rest and relax,” as it is seen as a special form of Islamic meditation. The special prayers involve reading long portions of the Qur’an, as well as performing many rakahs (cycles of movement involved in Islamic prayer).