Leaders offer best wishes to Muslims as Ramadhan begins

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 00:00 |
Muslim faithful pray at Masjid Ummu Kulthum Kizingo in Mombasa county, yesterday. Photo/PD/BONFACE MSANGI

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

Leaders have sent messages of warm wishes to the Muslim community across the world as they begin the Holy Month of Ramadhan even as the faithful once again differed over start date.

During the entire month of Ramadhan, Muslims are obligated to fast daily from dawn to sunset.

Fasting requires abstinence from food and drinks for 12 hours. During the 30 days, Muslims are also required to abstain from sexual acts.

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday posted a prerecorded four-minute video clip on his Facebook page to wish Muslims “Ramadhan Mubarak” and urged faithfuls to “observe the health guidelines to keep Covid-19 at bay, as they seek Allah’s blessings during the month of Ramadhan.

“It is stated in the Quran that Allah says “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.” (Quran 2:183),” stated the DP. 

ODM leader Raila Odinga on the other hand said: “Ramadhan Mubarak and Saum Maqbul to all our Muslim brothers and sisters” as he wished the, peaceful fasting.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi stated, “I take this opportunity to wish our Muslim brothers and sisters a happy and blessed Holy Month.

May this Ramadhan bring peace and joy to you and your families? May Allah bless you with a peaceful and prosperous life. Saum Maqbul”

Deep reflection

Speaking yesterday, Garissa Township legislator Adan Duale said Ramadhan is a time for fasting and deep reflection and contemplation.

He acknowledged that even though Ramadhan is a time for congregational nightly prayers and other devotional practices performed as a community, with the unfortunate outbreak of Coronavirus, mosques are closed while gatherings banned. 

 “Hence, these important communal activities will be absent (and sorely missed) for the first time in history. 

Nonetheless, Muslims can still highly benefit from his sacred month and take it as an opportunity to go inward, focusing on our spiritual development through prayer, self-evaluation, reflection, meditation, and learning of the inner-self as much as the outer material reality around us,” stated Duale.

On Monday, Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar announced today as the official start of the holy month of Ramadhan after the Muslim community in East Africa failed to sight the crescent on Monday evening.

While making the announcement, the Chief Kadhi observed that the moon sighting committee did not receive reports about sightings of the crescent anywhere in the East Africa region as of Monday evening.

According to Muhdhar, based on the knowledge that yesterday was the 30th and the last day of the month of Sha’ban- the eighth month of the Islamic calendar,  this would automatically mean that today marks the beginning of the 30 days of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan.

But despite the move, the usual differences emerged as some factions of the faithful started the fasting yesterday.

Jamia Mosque Nairobi announced through their twitter handle that Ramadhan began yesterday.

“Ramadhan Mubarak to all. Alhamdulillah we will begin fasting tomorrow In Shaa Allah,” tweet posted on Monday evening.

 Supkem national vice-chair Sheikh Muhdhar Khitamy, yesterday said there was no moon sighting Website that reported the sighting of the crescent as of Monday and therefore: “It was practically not possible to declare yesterday as the beginning of Ramadhan.”

New moon 

“Birth of a new moon has to be more than 10 hours. But, yesterday it did not reach 10 hours. That is why it was not spotted anywherey.

Chief Kadhi therefore made the announcement based on law and he was right,” said Khitamy.

Sheikh Izudin Alwy,    Imam and Preacher at Shibu Mosque in Mombasa reckoned  similar sentiments, saying Islamic laws require faithfuls to first confirm the moon sighting before fasting, adding in East Africa the crescent was not spotted.

“Those who have fasted have done so because of belief that the crescent was sighted elsewhere. We cannot blame them because there is no problem,” he explained.

But a popular Zimbabwean Islamic Scholar, Ismail ibn Musa Menk also Known as Mufti Menk, said all the faithful are equal despite the difference in dates of Ramadhan. 

“Many have started Ramadan today, the rest tomorrow. I wish each and every one of you the most blessed and spiritually uplifting month.”

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