Coventry shines as Muslim community enjoys sunny Eid celebrations

There were jubilant scenes in Coventry this week as Muslims gathered to celebrate Eid Al-Adha.

It is the first time in two years that the city’s Muslim community has been able to come together to celebrate Eid without any restrictions.

Eid Al-Adha is a big holiday for Muslim families and marks the end of the holy month and the religious pilgrimage, the Hajj.

READ MORE: Eid Al-Adha 2021: When is it and how Muslims in Coventry will celebrate it

Although it shares the same name as Eid al-Fitr, which took place in May, this week’s celebration is considered the holiest of the two Eids.

CoventryLive has been invited for Eid salah (prayer) at War Memorial Park on July 21, hosted by Allesley-based Iqra Mosque.

Around 250 worshipers were treated to tropical temperatures as they gathered to mark the holy day.

Watch the Eid event video at the top of this article.

“It’s going to be very special”

And in a situation that perhaps best represents Coventry, fitness classes and walkers continued during prayer.

This year, Eid Al-Adha fell on two days (Tuesday July 20 and Wednesday July 21) because different parts of the community follow different lunar calendars, this is how they decide on the day of Eid .

The day celebrates sacrifice and charity, and usually follows a holy month when Muslims aim to make the Hajj pilgrimage, a once-in-a-lifetime religious experience.

As we attended the salah prayer, it was a joyful atmosphere as families gathered side by side.

It clearly meant a lot to the community to finally be able to celebrate Eid in this way, and a lot of organizing went into the day to make sure the numbers were regulated and Covid safeguards were in place.

Eid Salah prayer at War Memorial Park on July 21

Speaking to us at the event, a committee member from Iqra Zaid Rehman said: “It’s the first time we’ve come together as community restrictions, so obviously we’ve been very careful.”

Referring to the importance of Eid as an event that marks charity and sacrifice, Mr Rehman said: “When it comes to celebrating, it’s about meeting friends and family, which we couldn’t do during the pandemic, so it’s going to be even more special today.”

The Iqra congregation in Coventry spans Chapelfields, Earlsdon and Allesley, but it was clear families felt safe attending the outdoor event from across the city.

Mr Rehman said the mosque had returned to congregational prayer within guidelines and there had been no Covid outbreak.

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‘It was beautiful’

Imam Asim, who led today’s prayer, told CoventryLive: “All praise to God, it was a very beautiful beautiful sunny day, that was the best thing about it – I guess that we didn’t have to move to our mosque because of the beautiful weather.”

Eid Salah prayer in the War Memorial Park on July 21.  Pictured: Imam Asim who led the prayer
Eid Salah prayer in the War Memorial Park on July 21. Pictured: Imam Asim who led the prayer

He continued: “It was beautiful, because that’s all we’ve been doing since the beginning, so for us to love not having to be limited… it’s nice to hug a few people today and to feel a bit of that feeling of Eid.

“But, of course, we remain limited, we make sure to use our common sense as much as possible and try to avoid as much contact as possible.”

Eid Al-Adha lasts three days, so for Muslim families in Coventry it will be a time of celebration and a chance to see family.

Haroon Mota and his family celebrated at Stoke Park in Coventry yesterday.

Mr Mota said: “It was the first time in a very, very long time that we could just celebrate Eid.”

He continued, “We could kiss people, because it’s a common tradition after the Eid prayer that we kiss, not just our friends and family, but our brothers in humanity.”

Eid Salah prayer at Stoke Park in Coventry on July 20
Eid Salah prayer at Stoke Park in Coventry on July 20

CoventryLive readers also wished the community an Eid Mubarak on our Facebook page.

Maggie Sands wrote: “Thank you so much for sharing your faith with us, very interesting – have a wonderful day everyone.”

Charlotte Goldsworthy wrote, “Happy Eid to everyone celebrating! Glad you were able to celebrate with the whole community this year.”

Natasha Isabel Yglesias wrote, “How lovely, people gathering in love at the fabulous memorial park.”

The Muslim Council of Britain also released a brand new eight-step guide for mosques on July 19 on how to keep worshipers safe as restrictions ease.

This included advice such as using a disposable prayer mat, avoiding queues and crowds, and taking a test before entering the mosque.

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