Millions of Kenyan Muslims on Friday joined their brethren across the globe to conduct this year’s Idd-Ul-Adha prayers.
Men clad in robes and women in veils together with their children braced a sunny morning to conduct the special prayers, as prescribed by Prophet Mohammed (SAW), at open grounds across the country.
Idd is an Arabic word that means feast or festival, and Adha means sacrifice.
The holy feast is not to be confused with Eid-ul-Fitr, which is marked at the end of the holy month of Ramadhan, which comes earlier.
In Mombasa, Kenya’s Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar and Kilifi Kadhi Sheikh Twalib Bwana led thousands of faithful in the special prayers.
The ceremony at Ronald Ngala Primary school ground was led by Sheikh Mahmoud Mustwafa.
The congregational prayers were also held at Tononoka, Likoni Caltex and Mvita grounds among other areas of the coastal city.
Sheikh Muhdhar and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who also attended the prayers, termed as “discrimination” failure by acting interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i not to gazette Idd -Ul-Adha festival a national public holiday.
Addressing reporters after the prayers, Sheikh Muhdhar said the state should not discriminate Kenyans on the basis of religion.
“There should be uniform public holiday covering all faiths in the country,” said Sheikh Muhdhar in response to questions from journalists.
However, he urged Kenyans Muslims not to discriminate their non-Muslim neighbours while sharing Idd goodies.
“This celebration is about sharing food, meat and other pleasantries with your neighbours,” he said.
On his side, Mr Nassir said Dr Fred Matiang’i failed to use his prerogative to declare the event a public holiday.
“It is the interior CS who has all the powers to declare public holiday. We hope that will be a thing of the past with the proposed legislation,” said Mr Nassir.
Sheikh Mustwafa, who led the prayers before delivering sermons, described the Idd-ul-Adha as the grand Islamic festival celebrated for three consecutive days compared to Idd-ul-Fitr, only celebrated for a day.
“This Idd is a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son Ismail but Allah sent down a fat ram averting Prophet Ismail from being slaughtered,” said Sheikh Mustwafa.
He said as remembrance of the event, Muslims are duty bound to slaughter an animal as a sacrifice but cautioned faithful against cruelty towards animals.
The clerics urged Muslims to share meat with their non-Muslim brothers and sisters, including Christians and Jews, as signs of goodwill.
The festival marks the end of hajj, a pilgrimage undertaken by millions of Muslims each year to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The pilgrims on Thursday spent the whole day on Mt Arafah seeking God’s forgiveness for the past and future sins.
After Idd-ul-Adha prayers at Mbaruk Mosque, Ambassador Sheikh Mohmmed Dor led faithful in praying for the country to remain peaceful after the judgment on the presidential petition.
“Whatever the outcome of the case, our country (should) remain peaceful and we continue with our daily lives,” said Sheikh Dor.
Additional Reporting by Abdulrahman Sheriff
The break will mark the Islamic feast of Idd-ul-Adha, which signals the end of Hajj.