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Muslim clerics want Idd-Ul-Adha to be officially made a public holiday

Kenyan Muslims on Monday marked Idd-ul-Adha prayers and celebration with leaders appealing to the government to declare the event an official public holiday.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) national chairman Prof Abulghafur El-busaidy led other leaders in calling on the government to incorporate Idd-Ul-Adha and Idd-ul Fitri events as public holidays.

“This is a very special and blessing event from Allah,” Prof El-Busaidy said at the Ronald Ngala Primary School grounds in Mombasa.

“We are delighted because of unity of Muslims in marking this Idd and the previous one after the end of Holy Month of Ramadhan,” he said.

“We thank our government for granting us a public holiday and we urge this should not be made ad hoc but through the statutes of the country,”

Sheikh Jamaldun Osman Hajj led a special prayer and delivered a sermon with a message to Muslims to contribute towards making Kenya a peaceful nation.

“Prophet Ibrahim first prayed to Allah to prevail peace in the Holy City before even praying to give him daily meal and in this country Muslims has a responsibility to pray for its peace because we would be severely be affected with rampant insecurity because will not be coming together for congregation prayers and work to earn living,” said Sheikh Hajj.

PRAYERS AND SERMONS

Similar Idd-ul-Adha prayers and sermons were delivered at various mosques and open grounds in several parts of Coastal counties including Lamu, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Kilifi and Kwale counties.

Chief Kadhi Sheikh Muhdhar Ahmed Hussein thanked the government for declaring the public holiday saying for the first time, working Muslim will have ample time for prayers and sharing meals, drinks and exchange gifts with their families, relatives and neighbours.

Sheikh Hussein asked Muslims to slaughter healthy animals to commemorate the occasion that Prophet Ibrahim obeyed God’s directives.

The slaughtered animals are then divided into several portions and given out to neighbours, relatives and the needy in accordance with Islamic teachings.

“While giving out meat, we should not forget our Christian brothers and sisters and other non-Muslim neighbours because that is going on the footstep of our beloved Prophet on an occasion like this,” added the Chief Kadhi.

Also present during the prayers was Kilifi Kadhi Sheikh Twalib Bwana Mohamed Abass.

However, Mombasa senator Hassan Omar and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said the announcement to declare the public holiday by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery was politically motivated.

POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

They asserted that it has been norm for different regimes in the country to declare public holidays for the two Muslim events every electioneering period.

“President (Mwai) Kibaki did the same when we were approaching election and now a similar case has happened,” said Mr Omar.

Mr Nassir said that together with other Muslim legislators, he will sponsor a bill in the parliament to ensure the two Muslim festivals are included in the list of public holidays in the country.

Whereas Idd-Ul-Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days, Idd-ul Fitri is celebrated at the end of Holy Month of Ramadhan.

The special Idd-ul Adha prayers and celebration is observed, a day after millions of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia converge at Mount Arafah to perform Arafah rituals.

The pilgrims spent the whole day on Sunday at Mount Arafah supplicating to Allah to seek his forgiveness for their sins and praying for personal strength in the future.

Pilgrims gather around the hill to commemorate an event in which prophet Muhammad stood and delivered his last sermons to Muslim world before his death.