For the first time, this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr celebration prayers at Upper Stadium in Blantyre were held under a theme: “UNITY IN ISLAM”.
Speaking to Malawi Muslims Website, President of Nikah and other Islamic Functions Association (NIFA), Brother Amaan Kunje said as organizers of the prayers, they decided to have a theme in the wake of growing concerns of backbiting and gossiping.
Kunje said in retrospect from petty issues that have divided Muslims, it was necessary to put across the Muslim community, message of love and oneness as they are crucial factors of strength and progress. Kunje observed that Muslims are fond of talking ill of each other, a tendency he described as unfortunate because it brings about hatred and divisions within the Muslim popularity.
The NIFA leader had no sweet words to Muslim leaders who he said were always bitter whenever their fellow Muslim had landed a golden opportunity or had risen in authority or position. “There are people who could assist to develop Islam in the country but they are reluctant because of our greed and jealousy. We cannot talk about development unless we support each other,” said Kunje.
“We don’t like to see somebody progressing. We go out insulting our own brothers and sisters either because they are doing well or they hold dissenting views. This is detrimental to our deen as it derails development and we should stop bringing each other down. We need to work together in all aspects and put our personal interests aside,” lamented Kunje.
While acknowledging that the song of unity has long been sung, Brother Amaan Kunje noted there was so much gossiping and backbiting. He howevers said that the theme does not signify that Muslims are not united. ‘On the contrary, Muslims are united, only that we would like to enhance oneness and brotherhood so that we can achieve a lot of things, said Kunje.’
Speaking earlier in his welcome speech, Kunje urged Muslims to accord their leaders with due respect while obeying their teachings. He said leaders can properly discharge their duties if they are given chance and respect. Kunje however accused some leaders of lacking self respect and promoting hatred among Muslims. He asked them to be exemplary by showing humility and respecting themselves so that people can respect them in return.
Turning to the celebrations, Kunje said it signified graduation from a month long spiritual training. He optimistically expressed hope that the good things that Muslims were doing in the holy month of Ramadhaan, would continue.
One of the renowned Sheikhs in the country who chaired the prayers, Sheikh Muhammad Uthmaan Mtalika, said Eid-ul- Fitr was a mark of achievement of one of the five pillars of Islam, which is fasting in the Holy month of Ramadhaan.
Flanked by journalists from different media houses, Sheikh Uthmaan said Eid-ul- Fitr is a celebration after a month long fasting for the sake of the Almighty Allah. “On this auspicious occasion, we proclaim the name of Allah Who gave us life and maintained our good health till we finished observing our fast. We also ask Him to reward us because it is only Him who knows how and when to reward His servants (people),” he said.
“We pray that Allah fulfills our wishes. Though we are celebrating, it is sad that the month of good tidings has gone, so we are pleading with God to forgive us our wrongs and accept our ibadah (worship) in the just ended month, which is a religious obligation.”
Sheikh Uthmaan also said as part of the celebrations, over 30 buses would ferry primary school pupils from different parts of Malawi on a tour in Blantyre city, which would reach a climax at Mpingwe Sports club in Limbe. The Sheikh said the trip was co-arranged by Muslim Teachers Association (MUTA) and NIFA, in order to give kids a glimpse of Malawi’s commercial capital on one hand and give them a memorable feel of Eid celebration on the other.
Delivering a lecture at the prayers, Sheikh Mustahab Ayami called on companies and organizations to respect the freedom of religion and dressing which are stipulated in the country’s laws. Ayami noted that some bosses in other organizations deprive Muslim ladies of their code of dress (Hijab) at the work place. He said such people were making their own laws and Muslims should stand for their rights by not allowing selfish individuals to violet them.
Sheikh Ayami then called on Muslims and all Malawians to pray for the famine hit Somalia which he said was in a crisis which needed help. He said People in Somalia are starving to death and asked Malawians to send humanitarian aid. “We assisted people of Haiti during the catastrophe that befell them, why can’t we assist our fellow African brothers and sisters?” he wondered.
Sheikh Zaid Abdul Rasheed gave Khutbah (sermon) while Sheikh Shaibu Mzoma led the prayers at the function. Most notable Malawian Muslim Brothers and Sisters attended the NIFA prayers.
NIFA has been organizing the prayers at the Kamuzu Upper Stadium since 2007.
Eid-ul- Fitr is celebrated on First day of the Islamic lunar month of Shawwal, after 30 days of fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadhaan. In Blantyre, other major prayers were held at Madina Mosque and Mpingwe sports club in Limbe, and Blantyre Mosque.
Muslims use the day to pray for leadership, peace and prosperity in Malawi.
The day is a public Holiday.