Kenya: Muslims Defy Chief Kadhi to Hold Idd Prayers

Thousands of Muslims Tuesday congregated at various mosques and grounds to celebrate Idd-ul-Adha in defiance of Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar’s advisory.

Sheikh Muhdhar had earlier declared Wednesday as the day of celebrations since the moon had not been sighted in the country. But many of the faithful marked the Festival of Sacrifice yesterday.

For yet another year, there were differences on the sighting of the moon as Muslim scholars and leaders clashed over the exact day of celebrations.

“The Idd celebrations are marked today (Tuesday) and not tomorrow. But no prayers were conducted in mosques or grounds, this is because of the measures set to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic,” said Mohammed Omar, a Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council official.

In Busia, Muslims gathered in homes due to the strict Covid-19 health protocols in place. President Uhuru Kenyatta placed the Western region on a 60-day partial lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Other affected counties are Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Bomet and Trans Nzoia.

Holiday amid pandemic

In Mombasa, the faithful attended prayers in various grounds across the county. It’s the second time Muslims are observing the holiday amid a pandemic.

“The prayers have been conducted outside in open grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was one of the measures set to curb the spread of Covid-19,” Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) national commissioner Sheikh Hassan Omar said.