Muslims in Kenya to begin Ramadhan Saturday
Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar has announced April 25 as the official start of the holy month of Ramadhan after the Muslim community in Kenya failed to sight the crescent on Thursday evening.
According to the Chief Kadhi April 24 is the 30th and the last day of the month of Sha'ban- the eighth month of the Islamic calendar, and therefore tomorrow Saturday marks the beginning of the 30 days of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan.
“Yesterday we tried to look for the moon but it was nowhere to be seen anywhere in East Africa. As a result Kenya and Tanzania is supposed to begin Ramadan tomorrow,” explained Muhdhar in an interview with People Daily.
He said Muslims in Kenya will not go by the sighting of the crescent elsewhere in the world besides East Africa.
However the usual confusion played out with a section of Muslims in Kenya defying the Kadhi’s advisory to begin their fasting on Friday.
But according to the Kadhi all those who started their fasting on Friday are still okay provided they fast for not less than 29 days or more than 30 days.
“The law says we can follow the sighting of the moon either international or locally. The most important thing is they should first for either 29 or 30 days because lunar month has 29 to 30 days…Fasting for less than 29 days or more than 30 days,” explained Muhdhar.
Kadhi said moon-sighting differences between regions, is a common phenomenon resulting from various circumstances which border weather and geographical differences.
During the entire month of Ramadan, Muslims are obligated to fast every day from dawn to sunset. Fasting requires the abstinence from food and drink for 12 hours. During this period, Muslims are also required to abstain from sexual acts.
It is expected that this year’s Ramadhan will not be business as usual, given that it comes at a time when the world in battling covid-19 pandemic.
According to Kadhi muslim’s observing the 30 days of fasting will be required to abide by all the set covid-19 containment measures to protect themselves and their families.
“Even Allah, our Creator knows that we are fighting a pandemic which is highly infectious and therefore some things which a regarded as haram or unlawfull will now be considered halal or permissible.
"We must respect the government directives because if we fail we might die in large numbers and if we die in big numbers it will create panic… we don’t want such a scenario.
"The law says once you face an emergency something that is considered unlawful becomes lawful . For instance pilgrimage to Mecca this year will be impossible because it will be risky so God will forgive us," he explained.
Regarding the idea of lock-down as proposed by Governor Hassan Joho, he urged the government to consider providing the basic needs to affected Kenyans before coming up with such measures.