Muslim faithful in Kilifi County yesterday expressed their joy following the Government’s decision to declare Eid al Adha a national holiday.
Those interviewed by The Standard said gazetting the religious fete as a public holiday, the second after Eid Ul Fitr, showed that the State is serious on its plans to foster national cohesion.
Muhdhar Ahmed Badawy, an Islamic scholar, was one of those who hailed the Government’s move on Eid al Adha.
He said there are some nations where Muslims are not recognised by their governments which is retrogressive in terms of national unity.
Addressing Muslim faithful at Masjid Al Noor mosque in Malindi, Mr Badawy said it was time Muslims reflected on the need to embrace unity and love as they intermingle with people from other faiths.
“I would like to send a message to all Muslims in Kenya and the whole world that Islam is a religion of love and peace,’’ Badawy said.
Eid al-Adha, or festival of the sacrifice, is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year.
It honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command. The other festival is Eid Ul Fitr which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadhan.
Badawy called on Muslims to study the Islamic religion and understand its teachings. He said this will help put an end to the contemporary religious differences that pull back the Islamic faith.
The scholar said Eid al Adha is a special day for Muslims to offer alms and share their wealth with the poor regardless of their religious backgrounds.
“When Ibrahim was ordered by God to sacrifice his own son Isaac, he consulted his son and the son told him to do what God commands him to do,’’ Badawy said.
Mahsen Shariff Albeity, who is in charge of the masjid Al Noor mosque, also thanked the Government for honouring Muslims with a public holiday.
He asked Muslim faithful to study Islam in a deeper and more open-minded manner, so as to avoid being misled by those who misinterpret the doctrine and end up preaching hate and conflict instead of love.