Uganda: Muslims to Start Ramadan On May 5

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Muslims will start fasting the holy month of Ramadan on May 5 or 6, the supreme mufti Sheikh Kasule Ndirangwa has said.

Ndirangwa told The Observer during the weekend while explaining the special significance of fasting to Muslims during Ramadan. Ndirangwa advised all Muslims to be faithful, avoid behaving badly and respect fasting during Ramadhan by becoming closer to God and also being more kind to the needy.

"Avoid all things that God refused during Ramadan such as quarreling, fornication, drinking alcohol, gambling and others" he said.

"Muslims should focus more on reading the Quran, supporting the poor and giving the food to needy to break their fast. They should also play talawq (evening and night players)," Ndirangwa said.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and the fourth pillar of Islam. It's a special month since it's the month during which the holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad as guidance for all mankind. Ndirangwa advised Muslims to pray for themselves and the deceased during Ramadan since Allah opens the gates of paradise and closes the gates of hell, and also chains up the devils.

"Ramadan, is a special month since Allah made al-Qadr (the night of power) in this month. During Ramadan, every night Allah has people whom he redeems from fire or hell," he says.

"On the night of Al-Qadr, people pray the whole night asking God for rewards and forgiveness of their sins," he added.

This year's 30-day fasting period will end with Eid al Fitr on or about June 3 or 4, depending on the sighting of the moon. Hajji Nsereko Mutumba, public relations officer at Uganda Muslim Supreme Council advised Muslims to practice patience, repentance, discipline and sacrifice.

"Muslims should pay sadaq (sacfrice) during this month and continue helping poor and the widow to break their fast. They should go for darasa (Muslim conferences) to gain more knowledge on islam," he said.

Ahmad Sentamu, the head communications Hear Uganda said, they are going to donate about 3,500 packages of food worth about Shs 300m to the poor in different parts of the country since donation is the best worship during Ramadan.

"It's our duty to help the needy during Ramadan. This is why we give people food packs as fitar meals during Ramadan to break their fast," he said.

Sentamu said, they will donate food items to mostly desperate people which include widows, orphans, people with disabilities, the poor, old people, refugees and helpless. The food packages include 10kgs of maize flour, 5kgs of rice, 2 litres of cooking oil, 2kgs of wheat flour, 10kgs of sugar and salt per Muslim.

Hajji Jaffer Senganda, the president Muslim Center for Justice and Law, advised Muslims to donate food to others during Ramadan and avoid bad acts during Ramadan.

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