Lack of unity and tolerance among Malawian Ulamas which led to the country observing Eid Adha prayers on different dates, did not only bring shame to the nation but also other Muslims too were affected.
The country observed two Eid Adha days as some Muslims prayed on Tuesday while others prayed on Wednesday over the differences of which Madhab to be followed.
Other Ulamas were saying that Muslims should follow Imam Shafee who clearly stated the need for Muslims not attending Hajj to make Eid salaat a day after the pilgrims have performed hajj rituals at Mount Arafat in Makkah while others said Muslims should follow Imam Abu Hanifa who stated that Muslims should fast on the day of Arafat in regard to their sighting of the moon in their country or area.
One of the groupings which suffered a setback because of the narrow-mindedness of the Ulamas is Muslim Artists Association, which organised shows in Mangochi aimed at entertaining Muslims in Mangochi on Eid day.
The show was organized to be on the Eid day after prayers at Mkambiri Lodge. But the confusion on the actual date of Eid ul Adha, affected the turnout of the people.
Speaking after the show, one of the organizers Rajab Yaseen Issa blamed the sheikhs for their function.
“People were told that Eid will be on Wednesday but then people changed after realizing that Arafat was on Monday. This made other people to say Eid would be on Tuesday. Muslims here in Mangochi were also confused and divided. They did not know the exact date to pray. Some came at Mkambiri on Tuesday according to the day they prayed their Eid while others still came on Wednesday according to their day as well. This heavily affected the turnout of people at our show,” said Issa.
Despite the organizers to make the show for two days to accommodate both groups, however the turnout was still not convincing.
One of the people who attended the show Aisha Kassim said the confusion of the day of Eid was the major contributing factor to the low turnout.
“We were confused we did not know exactly which day the function will be conducted between Tuesday and Wednesday,” she said.
Another fan at the show Abdulrazak Mbalazo said that unity is a paramount if we are indeed to help our artists.
“This was a very small issue. Our religious leaders would have just agreed to have one single day to perfume Eid. We have sent bad image to the nation. If we were to agree here in Mangochi to pray on the one single day we wouldn’t have these problems of such a low turnout. I think our leaders should learn to tell us the truth not just picking things from their head,” said Mbalazo.
Aisha Taipi who also came to the show said that she was not aware that there was such a show at Mkambiri on Eid day following the suspension of Eid announcements on Radio Islam.
“There was no advert on Radio Islam. We rely on our mother radio to know what is happening within our community. But the advert of this show was not allowed to be announced on radio Islam because of the confusion. We also understood that there were no any announcements regarding Eid celebrations or whatever to do with Eid was allowed to be announced on the radio. This also affected the turnout very much,” she said.
The function in Mangochi brought together artists from Blantyre and Mangochi together and fans were treated to the best ever performance by the artists. The artists included AbdulRahman Enock Chitemwe (Anganga Ajabilu), Ismail Katawala, Alfred Kanonje, Rajab Yaseen Issa, Sulaiman Saiti, Abdul Majid Mtenje and for the first time people in Mangochi also welcomed Kadhwaf Ahmad Pilo.
The Eid celebrations were designated to be the carbon copy of the previous Eid al fitri celebrations in august 2013. During the show in august hundreds of people came to witness the event and this encouraged the artists to come again and enjoy the Eid al adha with people in Mangochi.
Reporting by Hassan Bhoma Phiri from Mangochi