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Muslims defy Chief Kadhi to mark end of Ramadhan

A section of Muslims in Kenya on Friday defied the Chief Kadhi to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadhan and celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr.

In Mombasa, the faithful flocked at various mosques and open grounds for prayers marking the beginning of their Idd celebrations.

In Nakuru County, Muslims held joint prayers to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadhan and pledged to join hands in the fight against terror.

Hundreds of Muslims congregated at Tononoka grounds on Friday morning where clerics, Sheikh Abu Hamza and Sheikh Abu Qatadah led the prayers.

This is despite Chief Kadhi’s, Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar’s Thursday announcement to Muslims that the celebration should be on Saturday because the moon had not been sighted as expected.

Thursday night, Sheikh Muhdhar officially announced that the Idd celebration would be marked on Saturday, a day that coincides with the government public holiday.

Speaking after Idd prayer sermons, Sheikh Qatadah said they decided to mark the celebration because there is only one moon and it was sighted elsewhere.

“We have decided to hold the prayers today just because we have other countries like Saudia Arabia who are also celebrating, but apart from that it is because of our knowledge differences,” he said.

Sheikh Qatadah, however wished those who are still fasting a happy Idd-ul-Fitr as they celebrate on Saturday.

FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

Addressing the press after the prayers in Nakuru, County Commissioner Mohammed Birik, former mayor Mohammed Surraw said that Islam faith is based on peace, love and respect for humanity – virtues that need to be upheld every time.

Mr Birik said that it was important for Muslims across the country to report any suspicious characters among them as this would help security agencies in averting terror activities.

Meanwhile, Kenya Assembly of Ulammah, Secretary-General, Sheikh Badru Khamis together with Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) chairman, Sheikh Muhdhar Khitamy criticised those who defied the Chief Kadhi.

They pointed out that the moon was not sighted in any of the East African countries and thus those who decided to mark the celebrations on Friday did so prematurely.

“We neither sighted the moon nor did we receive any communication. According to our teachings it is clear that we have to sight the moon for us to conclude the holy month of Ramadhan,” Sheikh Badru said.

He said that they are ready to call an international conference to discuss on the matters regarding the celebrations because many Muslims are always misled on the issue during Ramadhan.

The Chief Kadhi usually urges Muslims to rely on the physical sighting of the moon, as per Islamic laws, to signal the start of Idd celebrations.