Hundreds of Muslims – young and old – thronged Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo early Monday to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Love for their neighbors and other Rwandans, while caring and providing for the poor and vulnerable, was part of the message the Mufti of Rwanda, Ibrahim Kayitare conveyed while presiding over the prayers that started at 8am.
Reminding Muslims that Eid is a day when they all show a common goal of unity, the head of the Islamic community in the country told Muslims – in Kinyarwanda and Arabic – that God is great as he has provided peace and blessings.
“As we celebrate today, ensure to do what is good, what makes God happy. Look to build stronger, happy and faithful families,” Kayitare said.
“This is a day also for personal reflection for every Muslim and one needs higher wisdom. We need to understand that we shall be responsible for all our actions, and mind our deeds every day. Let us all be responsible so as to make our world a better place”, the Mufti urged.
Very early in the morning, all roads led to the stadium, as the faithful braved the morning cold.
Preaching unity, the significance of Eid, the Islamic faith and fasting, Kayitare also called upon believers to take a leading role in national development.
Shortly after the morning prayers, Amin Nizeyimana, 23, an ETO Muhima graduate, told The New Times that Eid is a “day full of happiness,” not only for him but for all Muslims worldwide.
Nizeyimana said: “I take our Mufti’s message in with all my heart. It is all about loving and sharing with one another, without any segregation. We are going to feast and celebrate in our homes after here. This is also a day for serious personal reflection for every Muslim, centering on doing good only”.
He noted that Muslims observe their prayer to show “devotion and obedience to Allah,” because prayer is one of the greatest forms of worship that Allah likes His servants to offer, and to thank Him for “creating us.”
Even though the largest prayer gathering was at the Nyamirambo Regional Stadium, other Muslim communities countrywide gathered at various mosques for morning prayers as the festival bringing an end to a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, begun.
Meanwhile, similar celebrations took place around the world. From Kenya to Australia, Muslims gathered at mosques and other designated places to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, also known as "the feast of breaking the fast," which occurs with the sighting of the new moon.