Muslims should put in more efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and stay away from habits that might lead to the violation of the directives to fight the virus.
This was the message by Sheikh Salim Hitimana, the Mufti of Rwanda, as he led televised national prayers on Sunday to celebrate Eid al-Fitr— a festive holiday which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Unlike the usual gatherings in mosques, the national prayers were held with very few people in a room as Muslims countrywide prayed from their homes in accordance with the stay-at-home guidelines aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Mufti Hitimana said that Rwandans, just like other people elsewhere in the world, are grappling with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Such challenges, he said, include halting of some economic activities and financial distress to many people, emphasising the importance of zakat—one of the five pillars of Islam that encourages Muslims to donate a certain proportion of their wealth each year to charitable causes.
“We are all aware that there are some workers who were laid off, hence this Ramadan period was needed to support them, sensitize then about government measures to fight COVID-19,” he said.
The Mufti also extended his gratitude to the healthcare workers who are at the forefront of fighting the coronavirus pandemic in Rwanda.
He said that the teaching of Islam encourages people to avoid epidemics by keeping away from epidemic hit places.
Quoting Muhammad, the founder of Islam Hitimana said that; “If you hear of any place that has been hit by a pandemic, please keep away from it.”
We are still in hard times of fighting the spread of coronavirus, he added.
“The pandemic is still claiming a large number of people in the world. Therefore, in order to protect our lives, we are encouraged to continue respecting the government directives on fighting the spread of the virus.”
Ramadan should continue
Mufti Hitimana urged all Muslims to maintain a prayerful lifestyle even after the Ramadan period and continue extending support to the needy.
“Over the last month, we have supported the poor, we shared a meal with the hungry and we showed love to them; this should continue, we all have an obligation to do what Allah wants us to do and we should respect all that is in our holy book, the Quran,” he added.
Ramadan is the most important month for believers in the Islam faith worldwide and it is characterised by fasting, prayer and charitable deeds.