Imams criticise Duale over fete date

Mombasa residents queue outside a mosque to receive alms and meat after Idd-ul-Adha prayers yesterday. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]
Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed al Muhdhar yesterday said Muslims who celebrated Idd-ul-Adha on Tuesday broke fundamental principles of Islamic law.

And his predecessor Sheikh Ahmad Kassim hit out at Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale for opposing the date set by the Chief Kadhi to mark the fete.

Kassim noted that Duale’s position was based on “misguided opposition” and actuated by a desire to incite rebellion among Muslims.

Muslims in Kenya were divided over when to mark Idd-ul-Adha, to commemorate prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail after being commanded by God to do so.

Traditionally, Idd-ul-Adha is marked on the 10th day of Dhul Hijja, the 12th and final month of the Muslim lunar calendar.

The Chief Kadhi advised Muslims to mark the day yesterday, but Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had gazetted Tuesday as a public holiday to enable Muslims mark the day. This sparked divisions among Muslims with Duale and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala leading the criticism against al Muhdhar.

Duale accused al Muhdhar of sowing discord among Muslims and implementing power he did not possess in declaring the holiday.

Kadhi’s guidance

Muslims in some towns, especially in northeastern, parts of Coast, Nairobi and Rift Valley, observed Idd-ul-Adha on Tuesday but thousands in many other parts of the country observed the holiday yesterday.

Speaking in Mombasa yesterday, the Chief Kadhi accused some politicians of introducing divisive politics and orchestrating an unnecessary crisis among Muslims.

He was supported by his predecessor who also delivered a sermon, alongside al Muhdhar, at Ronald Ngala Grounds in Mombasa.

Others in attendance included Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki.

The Mvita MP accused Duale and critics of Chief Kadhi of trying to delegitimise the latter’s office.

“Praying on the day that is not prescribed (by Islamic law and tradition) means you did not observe Idd ul Adha. It is like fasting outside Ramadhan or observing Idd ul Fitr outside the month of Shawwal,” said al Muhdhar.

He said that based on the lunar calendar, the 10th day of Dhul Hijja was yesterday and not Tuesday.

“You do not even need an Imam to know when to observe this day because all of us are under obligation to observe the lunar calendar,” said al Muhdhar.

Sheikh Kassim accused Duale of sparking “misguided opposition” and orchestrating rebellion among Muslims.

End disputes

On the proposal to create the post of a Grand Mufti in Kenya to end disputes among faithful as proposed by Balala, the former Chief Kadhi said it was not a new discussion.

“I vividly recall that in early 2000 when I was about to assume office, the issue come up and was deliberated at length with an individual named to the post,” Sheikh Hammad said.

Prayers were also held in Hola, Malindi and Nakuru where Duale and Balala were also criticised.

At the Malindi Jamia Mosque, Sheikh Feisal Mohamed Alamoudy said matters of religion should be left to the Chief Kadhi as the administrative authority.

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Chief KadhiSheikh AhmedIdd-ul-AdhaAden Duale