Lakhs of Muslims offered Eid prayers at Eidgahs or open grounds and mosques in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and in other towns of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
Attired in their best and wearing skull caps, men and children thronged Eidgahs and mosques since morning for the ‘Namaz-e-Eid’, marking the culmination of the holy month of Ramadan.
The streets in the Muslim-majority old city of Hyderabad were abuzz with activity since early morning as people headed for ‘namaz’ reciting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great).
As in the past, separate arrangements were made for women at a few places to enable them to offer prayers.
The ‘imams’ or priests in their sermons exhorted Muslims to continue the good deeds even after Ramadan for success in this life and Hereafter.
They also exhorted Muslims to introspect and lead their lives in accordance with the Koran and Sunnah, the holy life of Prophet Mohammed. They underlined the need to have empathy towards the poor.
The imams, in their sermons, condemned the terror attack near the holy mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. They made ‘dua’ (supplication) for unity among Muslims and for peace across the world.
The biggest congregation was held at the historic Mir Alam Eidgah in Hyderabad. The historic Makkah Masjid, Eidgah Bilali Hockey Grounds, Shahi Masjid Bagh-e-Aam, Eidgah Military Grounds Humayunagar, Eidgah Seven Tombs Golconda, Eidgah Ujale Shah Saeedabad, Qulu Qutub Shah Stadium, Secunderabad Eidgah and Eidgah Amberpet also saw huge gatherings.
Police made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the Eid prayers by imposing traffic restrictions.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy, who supervised the arrangements, said over 10,000 personnel were deployed in the city for the peaceful and smooth conduct of prayers.
A festive mood prevailed in Muslim neighbourhoods as people greeted each other.
Eid was celebrated with religious fervour in nine other districts of Telangana. Major congregations were seen in the towns of Warangal, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar.
Eid was also celebrated with gaiety in Andhra Pradesh. Muslims offered Eid prayers in Kadapa, Kurnool, Anantapur, Nellore, Vijayawada, Guntur and other towns in the state.
After the month-long fasting during Ramadan, Muslims began the celebrations with prayers and greeted each other and people from other communities.
Before offering prayers, every Muslim family paid Fitra or charity (Rs 100) on behalf of each member as per Islamic rules so that the poor can also celebrate the festival.
Well-to-do families also paid ‘Zakat’ or 2.5 percent of Islamic tax on their wealth to the poor and needy in accordance with one of the basic tenets of Islam.
After the prayers, Muslims visited the houses of relatives and friends to offer greetings.
Guests were treated to sheer khorma (special sweet made of vermicelli, milk and dry fruits) and other dishes.
The Governor of the two states, E.S.L. Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu and leaders of various political parties greeted Muslims.
Muslims account for 12.43 percent of Telangana’s population of 3.51 crore. They make up 6.92 percent of the five crore population of Andhra Pradesh.