Covid-19 shadow looms as Muslims mark Idd-ul-Adha

Friday July 31 2020

Hundreds of Muslims across the country Friday converged in mosques for prayers to mark Idd-ul-Adha (festival of sacrifice).

Idd is an Arabic word that means feast or festival, and Adha means sacrifice.

The holy feast is not to be confused with Idd-ul-Fitr, which is marked at the end of the holy month of Ramadhan which comes earlier.

Also known as Idd-ul-Hajj, the feast marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

It is held on the 10th day of Dhul Hijja (12th month in the Islamic calendar) and commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail.


Muslim Faithful assemble for Idd-ul-Adha Prayers outside Masjid Musa Mosque in Mombasa County, July 31, 2020. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP



Muslims who can afford it celebrate the day by slaughtering goats, sheep, cows and camels.

They meet with their friends, family and communities for morning prayers, share food and donate food and supplies to people in need.

On Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta joined other leaders in wishing Muslims a happy Idd.

“As we celebrate Idd-ul-Adha, let us remember that in times of crisis it is personal sacrifices that ensure triumph over difficulty,” the President said in a Twitter post on the official State House handle.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, Friday’s celebrations were different.


Muslim faithful flood Kikowani Livestock Market in Mombasa to buy goats for Idd-Ul-Adha Celebrations, July 31, 2020. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP


In Mombasa, men clad in kanzus (Islamic robes) and women wearing beautiful dresses, buibui and veils attended the prayers.

Unlike past years when mosques were packed with worshippers and arrangements made outside to accommodate more people, only 100 people were allowed in the mosques while the young and the elderly were encouraged to pray at home.

Congregational prayers in open grounds, which is in line with the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), were not observed as some counties, including Mombasa, banned them.

However, prayers were notably held at Ummul Kulthum mosque in Kizingo and Masjid Musa in Majengo.

“We are happy that we managed to pray together. When we pray together, that is when we feel like we have celebrated this day,” said Suleiman Hashim.

After the prayers, the faithful went back home and prepared to slaughter goats as per the religious teachings.

The Kikowani goat market in Mombasa was a beehive of activities as worshippers bought animals for slaughter.

Mr Hussein Habshy, a trader, said the pandemic has affected their business.

“Despite selling the smallest goat at Sh4,000, buyers are still complaining,” Mr Habshy said.


Muslim Faithful assemble for Idd-ul-Adha Prayers outside Masjid Musa Mosque in Mombasa County, July 31, 2020. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP


At Jamia Mosque in Mandera town, residents started flocking the venue as early as 6am.

“I didn’t want to miss space inside the mosque,” said Mr Ali Hassan, a resident.

To be allowed inside the mosque, one had to have a face mask and mat. Interestingly, no woman turned up for the prayers.

Many faithful also turned up for prayers at Elwak, Banisa, Rhamu and Takaba.


Muslim faithful pray outside Jamia Mosque in Mandera town on July 31, 2020, when they marked the Idd-ul-Adha festival. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar urged Muslims to pray for the nation as Covid-19 ravages the country.

“We wish all Muslims well during Eid-ul-Adha and we would like them to observe the Ministry of Health protocols on gatherings,” he said.

When he declared Friday a public holiday, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i also urged the faithful to celebrate With minimal person-to-person contact and in compliance with guidelines issued by the Inter-Faith Council, with the approval of the Ministry of Health.

Fear has gripped many in Kenya due to sharp daily increases in the number of coronavirus cases.

As of July 31, the country had a total of 20,636 confirmed cases of the disease, 341 deaths and 8,165 recoveries. It has tested

Reporting by Mohamed Ahmed, Wachira Mwangi and Manase Otsialo