The annual observance of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month officially begins today, Rwanda’s Mufti, Sheikh Salem Habimana has said.
In accordance to Islam teaching Taraweh prayers that signify the commencement of the holy month were conducted last night.
The beginning of Ramadan is traditionally based on the sighting of the new moon so most Muslims don’t know exactly when the month begins until a day or two before.
During this period, Habimana called on Muslims to save what they have considering the ongoing worldwide recession; perform more acts of charity, and focus on prayer and in understanding the Islam holy book, the Qur’an.
“We are urging Muslims to avoid abusing what they have during the fasts, instead to save more to boost education amongst our community.
Again the savings can be used in giving to the poor at least once every three days,” Habimana urged.
“Don’t wait for people to come begging, instead go to them and offer them something to break their fast,” he said.
For the next 30 days, Muslims will join in the full day fast that will only be broken at sundown.
In addition to food, smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting.
Certain people are exempt from taking part in the Ramadan; they include children, the sick, the elderly, the mentally handicapped, and anyone who would be putting their health at serious risk by fasting.
Habimana noted that reading the Qur’an is an important part of Ramadan, and that all Muslims should use this month to pray and understand all scriptures.
“If all Muslims understood the Qur’an and followed its regulations, we would have no place for radicalism associated with Islam, nor would we have clashes with Christians,” Habimana said. “The Qur’an calls us to deal justly with everyone”.
Upon completion of the thirty days fast, all Muslim believers will celebrate the Feast of Fast Breaking known as Id al-Fitr.