Muslims across the world are set to start observing the holy month of Ramadhan this week, a period of fasting and prayers.
Muslim faithful will begin fasting either Thursday or Friday, depending on the sighting of the new crescent moon or 30 days’ completion of the month of Shaaban.
Muslims consider the 9th month of their calendar, known as Ramadhan, to be more than just a time of fasting, but also a month of restraint for the whole body.
The month of Ramadhan is also the month of reaching out to people and giving charity as the faithful are required to help the needy and poor, feed them and exercise charity throughout the fasting season.
During the daily fast, Muslims refrain from dawn to sunset from eating, drinking, smoking and husband and wife sexual relationships.
Fasting is compulsory upon every Muslim male or female, but exemptions include children under the age of puberty, insane people, men and women who are too old to undertake the obligation of fasting.
Others include sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of the fast, pregnant women and women breast-feeding their children and women in the period of menstruation.
Imam of Lutta Mosque in Mombasa Sheikh Naaman Othman said the first 10 days of Ramadan are mercy, the middle 10 days are forgiveness and the last 10 days are salvation.
Sheikh Othman, in an interview with KNA pointed out that during fasting, the faithful should not listen to those who swear or look at obscene or unlawful things.
The cleric said the faithful should learn the wisdom and lessons to be derived from this month of mercy by changing their bad attitudes and behaviours.
‘Overall, those observing fast work to avoid smoking, sex, food, evil thoughts and acts’ said Sheikh Othman on Wednesday.
He said people must check their manners and recite the holy Koran a lot since this is the month the Islamic holy book was revealed to the prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Othman said the blessed month of Ramadhan is also a month of generosity and giving saying the month is meant for Muslims to identify with the less fortunate and their needs and hunger.
Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) National Organizing Secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa has appealed for enhanced security for those venturing out to offer the nightly special prayers in mosques.
Sheikh Khalifa said Muslims are highly encouraged to pray more during this month and there are extra prayers at night ‘Taraweeh’, which are mostly performed in the mosque as congregational prayers.
He also asked Muslims to pray for the peace and stability of the country.
Mombasa acting County Commissioner (Ag CC) Ronald Mwiwawi has assured residents of adequate security during Ramadhan.
Mwiwawi vowed to deal firmly with criminals that have been terrorising residents ahead of the holy month of Ramadhan.
The security chief said security patrols would be frequent and warned criminals not to take advantage of the month of fasting to commit crime.
He said they have taken steps to heighten security across the coastal city and there would be visible police deployments at places of worship to guarantee safety of worshipers.
By Mohamed Hassan