At least 1000 cows and 1500 goats were slaughtered yesterday as Muslim across the country celebrated the Islamic holy Eid al-Adha or “Feast of Sacrifice”.
The Mufti of Rwanda, Sheikh Salim Hitimana, used the celebrations in Nyamirambo, Kigali, which were also observed through prayer, to remind the public to abide by the rules of the ministry of health in preventing Ebola.
The “Feast of Sacrifice” honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.
But, before Abraham could sacrifice his son, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead and in commemoration of this intervention, an animal is sacrificed.
The Mufti of Rwanda, Sheikh Salim Hitimana leads the prayers as the Muslims celebrated Eid-el-Adha in Nyamirambo yesterday. / Sam Ngendahimana
During the prayers, the Mufti said that although people were supposed to interact and feast, they ought to be aware that Ebola spreads through such direct contact.
“We urge the community to play their role in fighting Ebola since we have experienced the disease in the neighbouring countries (DR Congo and Uganda). Rwandan cross the boarders for various reasons and that is why they must be aware of ways to avoid contamination,” he said.
Rwanda has not registered any Ebola case despite the epidemic having spread to Goma town of the DR Congo, which boarders Rwanda. And the World health Organisation has commended Rwanda for its efforts on Ebola preparedness efforts.
“Ebola is a contagious disease, people should follow advice on the prevention. Our community should know the way to behave once they reach in the countries where Ebola cases have been registered. As people interact as we gathered in this festival, they should pay attention,’ he said.
Rubavu town is one of the areas with a great number of Muslim community members and close to the border of DRC where Ebola cases were registered.
Sheikh Salim Hitimana, the Mufti of Rwanda, speaks to journalists after prayers to celebrate Eid-el-Adha in Nyamirambo yesterday. / Sam Ngendahimana
Sheikh Hitimana said that since celebrating Eid el-Adha involves people who cross that border every day, prevention efforts should be tightened.
He recalled that sacrifice in Islam practice is an order.
“Every member of Muslim community must sacrifice their domestic animal and divide it into three parts; one remaining at their family, the other for neighbours and the third for poor people,” he said, adding that sacrifices were committed across the country including visiting and supporting orphans, widows among many other needy people.
Sudi Munyantwari, a Muslim faithful, said that the festival should be a model for the whole community to respect God’s commandments.
“But we have heard advice that despite conviviality festival, we must keep in mind of fighting Ebola,” he said.