Hyderabad: Tens of thousands of Muslims across Andhra Pradesh Monday offered `Namaz-e-Eid` at Eidgahs, open grounds and mosques to mark the end of the fast month of Ramzan.
Wearing new clothes and skull caps, men and children offered prayers as Eid was celebrated with traditional fervour in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Karimnagar, Kurnool, Guntur, Vijayawada, Kadapa and other towns.
Special `duas` (prayers of supplication) for the Muslims of Assam and Myanmar marked the namaz. The imams urged Muslims to come forward to help their brethren who were living in miserable conditions in the relief camps.
The Jama-e-Islami, Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) and other organisations collected funds to help the victims of Assam and Myanmar violence.
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 the historic Mecca Masjid near Charminar, Eidgahs at Madannapet, Chilkalguda, Ujale Shah, Bilali AC Guards and Saat Gumbad.
In their sermons, the clerics also prayed for the Muslims of Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan.
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 as representatives of various political parties, top police and civil officials reached 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 could also celebrate the festival.
Fitra (fixed at Rs.60 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 the Eid by meeting and greeting their relatives and friends. Visitors were treated with `sheer khorma`, a sweet dish made of vermicelli, milk and dry fruits.
Children were a happy lot as they received `Eidi`, the money given by elders during the festival.
Muslims constitute about 10 percent of the 84 million population of Andhra Pradesh.