Here are the agreed-upon SOPs to observe Eidul Azha

Religious scholars have advised the people to prefer collective sacrifice of the animals arranged by different organizations this Eidul Azha instead of individual fulfillment of the ritual. Here are the detailed SOPs.

SOPs to observe Eidul Azha

Prominent clerics and noted scholars advised Pakistanis to strictly following guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) on the upcoming Eidul Azha. The advice came as the cases across the country are increasing. Although the death rate in Pakistan has decreased to a significant level yet the virus is spreading on a persistent scale. Here are the detailed SOPs to observe Eidul Azha.

Religious scholars have advised the people to prefer collective sacrifice of the animals arranged by different organizations this Eidul Azha instead of individual fulfillment of the ritual in an attempt to maintain physical distancing and contain the spread of coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia has also decided to limit the number of pilgrimages for this year’s Hajj in a bit to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the country, after the number of cases surpassed 100,000.

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The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry has decided to outright cancel the hajj 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis that is still affecting Saudi Arabia.

COVID-19 cases in Pakistan

78 more people lost their lives in the country in the past 24 hours due to complications related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), taking the death toll to 4,551.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 4,087 new infections were detected after 22,941 tests were conducted in the previous 24 hours, taking the national tally of cases to 221,896.

More than 1.3 million tests have been conducted in the country while 103,722 COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment and 113,623 patients have recuperated from the disease.

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89,225 cases have been detected in Sindh so far, 78,956 in Punjab, 27,170 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10,666  in Balochistan, 13, 195 in Islamabad, 1,160 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 1,524 in Gilgit Baltistan.

SOPs to observe Eidul Azha

Mufti Munib-ur-Rehman, Chairman Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, along with other ulema and clerics, addressed a press conference and came up with a set of SOPs. The SOPs had been agreed between the clerics of all schools of thought and the Sindh government. He appealed to the people and the provincial administration to cooperate with each other amid the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Sacrifice of an animal is a key part of Islamic rites and prayers,” he said. “The donations or giving in the name of charity or welfare cannot be considered an alternative of this fareeza (religious duty). So the people should sacrifice animals and don’t take khairat (charity) or donation as its alternative. But to meet this commitment, we need to be cautions and follow those steps which are helpful for everyone,” he said. “We advise the people to go for collective sacrifice of the animals arranged by different welfare and religious organizations instead of doing so at their houses or neighborhoods.”

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“These SOPs should be followed by everyone — from buyers and traders of animals to the local administration to organizations arranging collective sacrifice of the animals,” said Mufti Muneeb. “The two sides [clerics and the Sindh government] have agreed that all cattle markets would be set up away from cities or residential areas at open grounds or land with four walls. The traders would make arrangements to keep their animals disinfected.”

Why are Pakistanis violating the SOPs?

Dr. Ahmed Usman, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, believes that: “Pakistani society is generally considered as a traditional society whose fabric is woven with the threads of norms, values, and cultures that are mostly shaped up by the complex theological underpinnings. Societal norms encourage social gatherings and overwhelming ways to express care, grief, and sorrow. The patterns of greetings are further formed as per religious frameworks that yet again emphasizes on kindness, generosity, and warmth ensured through reducing the physical gap between people. Religious rituals including Ibadaat at Mosques and religious congregations are considered compulsory in Islam. With this kind of widespread belief system, people believe that while they are in a state of ablution, no disease can harm them.”

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Dr. Usman notes that “arguably, the belief system encourages them to violate the man-made rules of lockdown that they think are baseless and a conspiracy of enemies to weaken the connection between God and them.  As lockdown restricts people from going to mosques and attending congregational prayers, it is considered an enemy’s tool to disconnect true Muslims from thy Lord.”

It is yet to be seen whether the government ensures a strict implementation of SOPs or not.

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