ALL MUSLIMS should distance themselves from terror acts and promote peace, unity and love to make the world a better place to live in, without religious or other forms of conflicts.
Sheikh Salim Hitimana, the mufti of Rwanda, made the call, yesterday, while addressing thousands of Muslim faithful during Eid al-Adha prayers in Kigali.
The day, also known as the Festival of the Sacrifice or the Greater Eid, is different from Eid-al-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting (Ramadan).
It is one of the two most important festivals on the Muslim calendar.
In Kigali, Muslims assembled at Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo to mark the day.
Addressing the faithful, Mufti Hitimana said Islam itself means peace and urged Muslims to desist from anything that is against peace promotion.
The mufti said there are some groups of people, especially the youth who engage in terror acts in the name of Islam, asking all the Muslims to fight and distance themselves from them.
At least five people suspected of being members of the known terror groups such as Islamic State were shot dead last month in the country, according to reports from police.
Over 20 others await prosecution.
Hitimana said such people use the name of Islam and some tools such as mosque among others in attempt to carry out their terror operations.
“This is a curse that befell us (Muslims) where you see some people, especially the youth who are getting recruited by terror groups, such groups only intend to mislead people and no right Muslims should follow them,” he said.
Sheikh Hitimana said while the figures are not alarming, it is time all Muslims, especially parents, worked hard to ensure that their children learn Islamic principles.
“It might be due to lack of parental supervision but we have the responsibility to ensure that our children are well educated and follow Islamic principles. Islam condemns whoever wants to harm either their lives or of others,” he said.
He described the day as an opportunity for all Muslims to reflect on their actions and change whatever they thought was wrong to do what is right.
“It is a day of joy, promote love not only to Muslims but to the entire society. This is an opportunity to bring us together as one family, it is a day of sacrifices and share them with others and support the vulnerable,” he said.
“Do what is good and detest what is wrong, reconcile families in conflict, don’t be characterized by anger and support the orphans,” he added.
The Greater Eid
The Greater Eid commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son Ismael as an act of obedience to Allah.
It also marks the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia undertaken by thousands of Muslims from around the world.
The celebrations involve gatherings of family and friends, meals and exchanging gifts, among others.
The key observances are Eid prayers; sacrifice of usually sheep, cow or goat depending on region and donating one-third of the sacrifice meat to friends, neighbours, the poor as well as needy in the community.
Meanwhile, Jean Baptiste Nyatanyi, who works at Nyabugogo abattoir, said the number of animals slaughtered tripled compared to normal days.
“We expect to slaughter more than 300 cows and the same number of goats and sheep, this is the day we make a lot of money ever,” he said.
Muslims said the day was important as it helped them reflect on the issues needed for them to renew their faith.
“We have time to pray in past days and today we are celebrating Eid with vows to ensure that there is love among ourselves and that we are against any bad act that damages the image of Islam,” said Hasina Imanishimwe.
More than 180 Rwandans are attending this year’s pilgrimage in Saud Arabia.