Thousands of Muslim faithful yesterday gathered at Ngoma Mosque in Huye District for dawn prayers to observe Eid-al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice.
Eid-al-Adha is one of the major festivals on the Islamic calendar, and is celebrated in honour of the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail, as an act of obedience to God.
Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, by Muslims worldwide.
It is a day when Muslims slaughter a four legged animal (a cow, goat, sheep or camel) in commemoration of this day.
The meat – and other donations – from the sacrifice are mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, while one-third is donated to the poor, according to Muslim clerics.
Sheikh Hamdan Habimana, the Imam of Huye, urged the Muslim community in the district to always endeavour to help the poor.
“Helping the poor should be part of our daily lives, it is not a matter of special days or festivals [like the Eid-al-Adha],” Sheilh Habimana said.
“Muslims have the obligation to lend a helping hand to the poor and the vulnerable within the community every day,” the Imam told The New Times in an interview later.
Sheik Habimana also urged Muslims to always seek righteous values and follow God’s will as prescribed through the holy Qur’an.
Faithful speak out
After prayers, the failthful greeted and hugged one another with the greeting; “Eid Mubarak”. Muslims who talked to this paper said the celebration of Eid-Al-Adha is a reminder of the sacrifice and obedience to Allah (God) that are portrayed in the acceptance of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son.
Rehema Uwamahoro said the celebration is very important in her life because it reminds her of her obligation to assist the most vulnerable of the community.
“It is a reminder of what Allah expects from us,” Uwamahoro said.
Zamda Uwase, the representative of women Muslims in the Southern Province, said helping the poor brings blessings in one’s life.
“I always feel honoured whenever I lend a helping hand to those in need,” Uwamahoro said. “Allah instructed us to always assist each other because people do not have the same financial capacities. Some are wealthy; others are in the middle class while others are poor.”
Sheikh Abdul Zizabakirana said the Feast of Sacrifice reminds him that, as a believer, he must always obey Allah and follow his path.
He noted that the festival is a day of all individuals who believe in one God, regardless of their religions. He noted that the same passage of Ibrahim accepting to sacrifice his son is also found in the Holy Bible for Christians.
“It is a celebration for all believers throughout the world,” he said.