Eid-Ul-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast” or Lesser Eid, or simply Eid, is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide and will take place on Thursday.
Sadly this year the Sleaford Islamic Centre is unable to open its doors to invited guests from the wider, multi-faith community to join in feasting, due to covid restrictions.
Nadim Aziz, secretary at Sleaford Islamic Centre, said the town’s entire Muslim community say: “Eid Mubarak” - a message of good will to all their neighbours as they celebrate their festival to end Ramadan.
The Sleaford Muslim Community Association will observe the occasion in a socially distanced, covid compliant feast, says Mr Aziz.
The restrictions also mean they are holding off on their grand official opening of their newly finished masjid - or mosque - which has taken three years to complete, thanks to local, national and international crowdfunding, appealing to friends and family worldwide to help achieve their dream.
The masjid on Station Road was converted from an old, derelict warehouse, by local building contractors Willow Homes, but decorated inside by members.
It is even fitted with 42 solar panels to make it energy efficient when powering the elaborate light fittings that illuminate the two floors - downstairs for men’s prayers and upstairs for women to pray.
Plush red carpets have been fitted with diagonal line patterns sewn in for worshippers to line up and face Mecca and under floor heating adds extra comfort for all ages.
Covid compliance is taken very seriously, says Mr Aziz and the centre has stayed closed for longer than necessary during the last year in the spirit of scientific guidance. “Everyone is temperature checked at the door, contact details are recorded, everyone brings their own prayer mat and uses hand sanitiser,” he said.
They even cater for visitors, offering disposable prayer mats.
The only finishing touches to come are the numerous lights to be installed on the ceiling just inside the rim of the green dome that was lowered into the roof back in 2019.
Mr Aziz said: “We are waiting for things to calm down with the pandemic and then we will have a big opening, welcoming local people of all faiths to see. We are sorry to keep people waiting.”
They have included a storage area, office, disabled and baby change facilities and toilets with washing facilities for worshippers prior to prayers that have split level automatic dryers for both hands and feet. There is even a stairlift for more infirm members.
The prayer hall has a digital read-out on the wall downstairs listing the five times for daily prayers that shift with the lunar calendar.
Fridays tend to be busier, said Mr Aziz, as people cannot always attend due to work commitments.
Mr Aziz said: “We want to thank the local multi-faith community for their support during this period, local councils, police and the Sleaford Standard, who have all been really helpful.”
Once restrictions relax, the prayer hall will again be welcoming educational visits from schools and other groups. For enquiries call 07903 488754.