Rwanda: Eid Al-Fitr Set for Thursday

Celebrations of the Eid al-Fitr are expected to take place on Thursday, May 13.

Eid al-Fitr - which means 'festival of the breaking of the fast - is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, a month when many adult Muslims fast.

A communique issued by the Rwanda Muslim Council (RMC) on Tuesday, May 11, signed by Mufti Salim Hitimana informed Muslims about the development.

"RMC is glad to inform all Muslims and Rwandans in general that the Holiday of breaking the month-long Ramadhan fast is expected to be on Thursday, May 13," read the statement in part.

"We take this opportunity to wish Muslims and all Rwandans a good Eid al-Fitr holiday," it continued.

Also known as "Lesser Eid," Eid al-Fitr was originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to certain traditions, these festivals were initiated in Medina after the migration of Muhammad from Mecca.

Anas, a well-known companion of the Islamic prophet, narrated that, when Muhammad arrived in Medina, he found people celebrating two specific days in which they entertained themselves with recreation and merriment. At this, Muhammad remarked that Allah had fixed two days of festivity: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Traditionally, Eid al-Fitr begins at sunset on the night of the first sighting of the crescent moon.

It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid, and a specific prayer is made on this day. In addition, as an obligatory act of charity, money is given to the poor and the needy on the day.

Muslims in Rwanda, like many of their counterparts around the world, began the fasting month of Ramadan on April 13.

Like it was in 2020, the fasting period was not a usual one as nations continue implementing measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Here, for example, religious gatherings, among other usual rituals like visiting and taking care of the less privileged during the fasting period were limited.

This year's Eid al-Fitr celebrations are also expected to be affected by Covid-19 preventive measures, among which places of worship are not allowed to host numbers exceeding 50 percent of their seating capacity.

As a result, a number of Muslims may end up having their prayers at home, during this festival.

Meanwhile, the other Muslim Eid known as Eid al-Adha or "Big Eid" is always celebrated in July.

It is the latter of the two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year.

It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God's command.

Known as the "Festival of the Sacrifice", Eid al-Adha is considered the holier of the two Islamic Eid festivals.

It is marked as Muslims take part in slaughtering animals as sacrifice to God, in addition to sharing meat and other material things with the needy.

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