For those who are in the Gulf countries, the much-awaited Eid holidays are already on the roll. Excited? Well, not really. It is hard on the locals and ex-pats to stay home on Eid holidays. Yet they have to follow the norms; the authorities have set their priorities right. Contrary to the past, this year everyone has to observe a subdued celebration for the Covid-19 pandemic. Today I will talk exclusively about Eid celebrations at the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Anyway, at the very outset let me wish you all Eid Mubarak/عيد مبارك.
Eid Al- Adha
The Muslim brethren all over the world are celebrating Eid Al- Adha today. It is the Feast of the Sacrifice. Corresponding to the year 1441 of the Islamic calendar, the Feast is from July 30 to August 2, 2020. It falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhu al Hijjah of the Islamic lunar calendar.
The festival commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to follow Allah’s (God’s) command to sacrifice his son. Islamic devotees around the world observe this event doing the prayers. They take part in the festivity as well.
Eid Al Adha prayers are held in larges mosques and dedicated open spaces at the specified time. The prayers mark the commencement of the celebration. In Abu Dhabi, prayer time is at 6.07 am. The day becomes special with gifts-sharing, enjoying special food items with family and friends. Doing charity, fireworks and festivities commemorate the celebrations.
Doctors and nutritionists in the country have advised the residents to go easy on food on Eid. Delicious food with halal meat holds a predominant place in Eid celebrations. UAE is a hub of international tourists and ex-pats. It has no dearth in intercontinental varieties of food delicacies on all the festive seasons.
The list of delicacies available in Abu Dhabi to feast on Eid can be endless. Some of the delectable ones are:
- Canadian Maple salmon
- Jordanian Fattet al-betenjane
- Omani shoowa
- Moroccan Tagine
- Middle East roast lamb
- Indian mutton biryani
- Lebanese Maamoul
- Filipino adobong atay
- Pakistani Sheer Khurma
Dubai and Abu Dhabi adorn spectacularly well to welcome and celebrate Eid. Tourists flock in thousands even from abroad to be part of the celebrations unmindful of the hostile summer clime. Abu Dhabi becomes an illuminated spectacle on the days of Eid. By evening, you will be lured by the rich adornment and festive mood of the Emirate to stroll around.
Activities in Abu Dhabi
Preceding years saw tourists thronging to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE on Eid holidays. They engage in multiple activities. Entertaining and relaxing activities include
- Visiting Qasr Al Watan Palace
- Visting Emirates Palace
- Visting The Galleria Al Maryah Island
- Shopping spree at Abu Dhabi Mall or the Art Souq and
- Enjoying with kids at KidZania at Yas Mall
In Abu Dhabi, you must not miss out on the spectacular fireworks on Eid.
Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the country. It is the centre of attraction on these days. 2019 saw as many as 115,000 devotees and tourists visiting the Mosque on the Eid holidays.
As you can imagine, all these activities remain suspended on the occasion of Eid. Do keep them marked in your bucket list. 2021 isn’t far away.
Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The mosque is temporarily closed for prayers and visits as per the Covid-19 prevention norms of the country.
Let alone the festive seasons, visiting the Grand Mosque on any day is an aesthetically informative and spiritually enriching experience. The legacy of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918-2004), is reflected on the majestic mosque. He is the UAE’s founding father. His enlightened vision of diversity is rooted in the essence of Arabic–Islamic civilization. It embraces people of all origin and culture. The construction of the Mosque was completed in 2007; by that time Sheikh Zayed had left for his heavenly abode. He was buried in the courtyard of the mosque. Visitors are not normally allowed at this spot in the mosque complex.
The mosque is large enough to accommodate almost 40,000 worshippers. The world’s largest carpet is curated and present at the prayer hall in the mosque. The seven imported chandeliers inside the mosque are extraordinarily magnificent. The Qibla wall of the mosque has inscriptions of the 99 names of God (Allah).
The Islamic message of peace, tolerance and diversity personified through post-modern architectural designs. That makes the mosque uniquely grand. Anyone can visit the Grand Mosque who follows the instructions and ‘mosque manners’.
Amenities and Aids
For visitors there are:
- Medical clinic
- Food and beverage outlet
- Free cultural tours and
- Wheelchair assistance for the needy.
Restrictions and Security
This is a sacred and historic place; safeguarded with all its reverence and reputation. After a thorough screening and checking you will be allowed inside the complex. Leave behind all IATA restricted objects and food items, and your footwear. The dress code for men is kandoor, and pardha for women. Don’t worry about it. You will get them from inside and will have to return it at the exit point. Visitors who are not Muslim devotees can not enter the prayer hall at the times of prayers.
Make sure your phone is off. You can take photos at the permitted spots if you are inside the mosque premises.
All the above photos and videos were taken in 2019. Abu Dhabi police have warned of legal action; and stiff penalties to violators of precautionary measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. By hosting or visiting gatherings, you can invite a fine of Dh10,000. Now, that can dent your pocket big time. Let us all better stay indoors. Celebrate Eid on a low scale. Be healthy and socially responsible.
A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers