Thousands of Muslims yesterday gathered at Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo to mark Eid al-Adha which commenced with a prayer led by the acting Mufti, Sheikh Ibrahim Kayitare.
Eid al-Adha – the Feast of Sacrifice – is one of the most important holidays on the Islamic calendar.
It includes a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, known as “Hajj”, which is one of the five pillars of Islam and can be undertaken by any Muslim.
The day honours Prophet Abraham’s willingness to obey God’s command to sacrifice his first born as an act of submission, and his son’s acceptance to be sacrificed, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to be offered.
“The sacrifice made by Muslims on this day should signify righteousness amongst them and it’s a joyous moment for believers,” Kayitare said.
Muslims, the world over, slaughter a four legged animal in commemoration of this day.
The meat is then distributed amongst family members and neighbours as well as the needy. But before, the faithful flock to mosques to take part in prayers.
Sheikh Kayitare’s preaching dwelt mostly on fearing God, obedience and upholding family values.
Muslims use the Eid al-Adha holiday to reflect on the year gone by looking at their challenges and achievements and to also express gratitude on their blessings, the gift of life and good health.
They also use the time to focus on the less privileged, reaching out to those around them in the form of community work and praying for others.
Yesterday morning, several Muslims thronged abattoirs to purchase livestock for slaughter.
When The New Times visited Nyabugogo slaughterhouse, Hakim Kubwimana who had just bought a goat said he was committed to the Muslim ritual.
“I intend to share with my family and my neighbours, this is how I have been doing it for years and I believe it’s a blessing,” said Kubwimana.
The Egyptian ambassador to Rwanda, Khaled Abdel Rahman Abdel, was also at Nyabugogo abattoir where he had just bought a cow.
“I am going to give all the beef to needy Muslims in the mosques and in other places. It is an opportunity to consolidate our solidarity,” said the envoy.