4,000 Kenyan pilgrims visit Mecca

Chief Khadi Sheikh Sharif Muhdhar (right) addresses Muslims during 2016 Eid at Ronald Ngala grounds in Mombasa County. Maarufu Mohamed, Standard

An estimated 4,000 Muslims from Kenya are attending the annual pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

This is according to Muslim leaders in Mombasa who also announced that today will be Idd-ul-Adha, a day marking the end of this year’s pilgrimage rites.

Muslims will observe Idd-Ul-Adha prayers in various open grounds and mosques around the country.

Chief Kadhi of Kenya Sheikh Sharif Muhdhar, who is expected to lead the prayers at Mombasa’s Ronald Ngala School open grounds, said the prayers would start at 7.30am.

Muhdhar said unlike Idd-Ul-Fitr that marks the end of fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan, Idd-Ul-Adha, also known as Idd-Ul-Hajji, had not been gazetted as a public holiday.

“But I request employers to allow Muslims time off for prayers and to join their families and friends in celebrations after the prayers,” Muhdhar said.

He said Muslims should pray for continued peace and unity in the country, and also assist the less fortunate in the society.

High point

In Mombasa, Sharif Nassir Foundation has prepared Ronald Ngala School grounds where many Muslims, including Governor Hassan Ali Joho, will converge to pray.

Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya Organising Secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa explained that Idd-Ul-Adha (Hajji) is a high point of the Hajji season when many Muslims go on a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Animals are sacrificed during Hajji to remember Prophet Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his own son Ishmael to obey God.

“To date Muslims worldwide sacrifice a sheep or goat as a reminder of Abraham’s total obedience to God,” said Khalifa

He pointed out that the animal that must be slaughtered should be healthy and the meat should be divided between the family, neighbours and the poor.

Khalifa said in the past 14 centuries, millions of Muslims have made pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of Islam, to perform activities of Hajji.

“This is a form of worship involving the entire body, soul and mind that takes place in about six days (8th-13th) of the Islamic Lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah,” said Khalifa. 

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