Hyderabad, May 6 : Say no to Eid shopping this year to help the needy campaign is gathering momentum with the backing from a cross section of Muslim community.
The campaign which started on social media a few days ago found huge support in cities across India. The community is being urged to celebrate the true spirit of Ramzan by feeding a family, by paying someone’s school fee, helping someone restart the business and pay someone’s rent.
Religious scholars, intellectuals, politicians and youth have appealed to the community to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with simplicity without new clothes and new footwear and use the money thus saved to help those who are facing severe hardships due to the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.
With little more than two weeks to go for Eid, which marks the culmination of Ramzan, appeals are being made to the entire community to avoid shopping and use the money to help the needy among their relatives, neighbours or other people in their towns and cities.
As the Telangana government has extended the lockdown till May 29, there will be no Eid celebrations in the state. Hyderabad, a key hub of Ramzan festivities and shopping, is deserted and there are no chances of garment or footwear shops re-opening before the festival.
As Hyderabad is one of the six red zone districts, the government has ruled out allowing markets to open. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao said he will review the situation on May 15 to consider any relaxation.
He has also made it clear that no congregational prayers will be allowed on the occasion of Eid. Muslims offer ‘namaz’ in Eidgahs and mosques to mark the festival.
“When there will be no Namaz-e-Eid, what purpose will new clothes serve. As it is there is no festive atmosphere due to the pandemic and the lockdown and the miseries they caused to millions,” activist S.Q. Masood told IANS.
On an average a middle class family spends about Rs 50,000 on Eid shopping. They not just buy the new clothes and new footwear but also go for new curtains, upholstery, crockery and some other household items.
The crisis triggered by the outbreak of Covid-19 and resultant lockdown has already considerably impacted purchasing power of many families. Those depending on the business during Ramzan have been hit hard.
As Ramzan is called as the month of empathy, community leaders have urged the affluent to come forward to help the needy, the daily wagers and those rendered jobless by nearly a 50-day long lockdown.
“The so-called poor are anyway getting the help from the government and many organisations. A person will stand in many queues and receive help from many quarters. We have to think of the lower middle class who are going through very tough times but who don’t seek any help,” said Affan Quadri of Mehar organisation which has been distributing ration kits and cooked food among the needy since the lockdown began in March.
Setting an example for others, Affan and other office bearers of the organisation have taken the responsibility of the food and other requirements of their neighbours for the entire lockdown period. “Whatever money one saves by not doing Eid shopping should be spent on the neighbor so that they can also celebrate Eid,” said Affan.
Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, the grandson of Nizam, the ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State, has also lent the support to ‘no Eid shopping’. “In these critical times when many people have lost their livelihood and are starving, we should not indulge in unnecessary Eid shopping and instead use this money to help those in need,” said Khan.
For the last 40 days, dozens of organisations are distributing ration kits or cooked food among the needy.
With the beginning of Ramzan, Muslims started paying their ‘zakat’ to meet the needs of those badly affected by the lockdown.
Muslims who possess wealth in excess of the minimum exemption limit, pay ‘zakat’ or 2.5 percent annual tax to the poor and the needy during every Ramzan.
Before Eid, all the Muslims irrespective of their wealth and age have to pay ‘fitra’ (2.5 kg wheat or equivalent amount). Aid workers say both ‘zakat’ and ‘fitra’ this year are being used to help those affected by the lockdown.
Help, through the money saved on Eid shopping, is expected to give more push to the aid work.
“Wear the best clothes and not new clothes. Celebrate the Eid with simplicity and help the needy,” eminent religious scholar Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rehmani urged all men, women and children.
He said Muslims should not go to markets for Eid shopping as this may lead to violation of social distancing norms and result in the spread of the disease. “Your health and the health of your near and dear ones should be more important than new clothes,” he said.
The religious scholar said Muslims should also give no opportunity to certain communal elements who are trying to spread the hatred even during the times of pandemic.
He pointed out how a section of the media already started showing burka-clad women in cities where garment shops have been allowed to open with certain relaxations in the lockdown.
Messages have been circulating over social media since the beginning of Ramzan, cautioning them about the conspiracy to open the markets for Eid shopping and then blaming them for spreading the coronavirus.