Hyderabad: Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Ramadan fasting month, was celebrated on Friday across Andhra Pradesh with religious fervour and gaiety.
Tens of thousands of Muslims offered `Namaz-e-Eid` at Eidgahs or open grounds and mosques.
Wearing new clothes and skull caps, men and children offered prayers at hundreds of Eidgahs and mosques in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Karimnagar, Kurnool, Guntur, Vijayawada, Kadapa and other towns.
The biggest congregation in the state capital was at the historic Miralam Eidgah, where over three lakh people bowed their heads in supplication, seeking the Almighty`s forgiveness and blessings. Moulana Abdullah Quraishi Al-Azhari led the prayers.
The other major gatherings were seen at historic Mecca Masjid near Charminar, Eidgahs at Madannapet, Chilkalguda, Ujale Shah, Eidgah Bilali AC Guards and Saat Gumbad.
Muslims constitute about 10 percent of the 84.6 million population of Andhra Pradesh. They are about 40 percent of Hyderabad`s seven million population.
The `imams` or priests, in their sermons, urged Muslims to strengthen their relation with the holy Koran and continue the pious deeds of Ramadan.
The `imams` prayed for world peace and an end to the sufferings of Muslims of Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar and other countries.
Addressing the gathering at Masid-e-Azizia in Mehdipatnam here, Moulana Imaduddin Mohsin Madani exhorted Muslims to adhere to the principles of Islam for glory in this world and the hereafter.
He attributed the problems faced by Muslims in India and across the world to their indifference towards Koran.
Police had made elaborate security arrangements in the old city and other parts of Hyderabad. Traffic was diverted at several points around Eidgahs for smooth conduct of the prayers.
Scenes of communal harmony were witnessed at Eidgahs with public representatives of various political parties, top police and civil officials reaching there to greet their Muslim brethren.
Before leaving for prayers, Muslims paid `fitra` (the annual compulsory charity paid by the head of the family on behalf of all family members under his care) so that the poor can also celebrate Eid.
`Fitra` (fixed at Rs 80 this year) is in addition to `Zakat` or the 2.5 percent annual Islamic wealth tax which every well-to-do Muslim family has to pay for the poor and the needy.
Muslims celebrated Eid by meeting and greeting their relatives and friends. The visitors were treated with `Sheer Khorma` -- a sweet dish made of vermicelli, milk and dry fruits.
The children in the families were a happy lot for receiving `Eidi` or the amount the elders pay to the younger ones on the happy occasion.