Millions of Muslims across the world mark Eid al-Fitr
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyMillions of Muslims around the world marked Eid al-Fitr on July 6, which celebrates the end of Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a day after Turks stopped fasting.
While Muslims in Turkey and some Balkan nations, such as Albania, marked the first day of the three-day festival on July 5, several Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and others like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Malaysia began Eid one day later, citing their inability to view the crescent moon ending the lunar month of Ramadan.
Hundreds of thousands of people said their special Eid prayers in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on July 6.
In Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Muslims flocked to the al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represent the world’s third holiest site. People prayed for an end to terror attacks targeting Muslim countries.
In Indonesia, millions across the world’s most populous Muslim nation flocked to fields and mosques in their best outfits to attend Eid prayers.
Afghanistan too marked Eid on July 6, with thousands of people saying their prayers in Mazar-i-Sharif.
In remarks following the prayers, local governor Atta Muhammad Nur called for unity against terrorism in the country and around the world.
Millions of Muslims across the African continent also celebrated Eid.
In remarks made to thousands of worshippers gathered at a sports stadium in the capital Pretoria, South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa praised the local Muslim community for its contribution in the fight against apartheid.
“As we gather here today to celebrate Eid, this day reminds us of the important contribution done by the South African Muslim community in the struggle for our country’s freedom against apartheid,” he said.
In the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, thousands of Muslims dressed in colorful robes thronged the old stadium in the city to say their Eid prayers.
Addis Ababa Islamic Affairs Supreme Council President Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh praised the Ethiopian government for providing freedom of worship in the country.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also wished Muslims a blessed Eid. “Today, we not only wish you Eid Mubarak but we celebrate this day with you.”
In Senegal, a coalition of Muslim scholars used their Eid sermons to preach against extremism and reinforced the importance of peace in Islam.
“We, the true Muslims, need to stand up and say no to the minority disbelievers who are bent on destroying the religion of Islam,” Sheikh Suleman Ndiaye of the Dieupel Islamic Community in Dakar said.
In Zambia, President Edgar Lungu called on Muslims to promote peace by living in harmony with others.
In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari urged Muslims to imbibe the spirit of “tolerance, piety, sacrifice, and love with one another.
“Let us learn to show gratitude, respect and tolerance to one other, irrespective of our religion, tribe, language and political leanings.”
In Turkey, Ramadan ended with Eid celebrations beginning on July 5. Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) sent two officials to Chile to sight the crescent moon, which appears there first. According to the Diyanet, sighting the crescent moon anywhere in the world marks the end of Ramadan. However, some Arab countries have adopted the practice of sighting the crescent moon from locations within their borders, and therefore ended Ramadan on July 6.
Muslim clerics from across the world had agreed to a unified Islamic calendar on May 30 to determine religious days and festivals. Representatives from around 50 countries including Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt and the United States agreed to the proposal at a conference in Istanbul.
The Hijri is a lunar calendar used to determine religious occasions such as Ramadan and the Hajj pilgrimage. However, different interpretations of the Quran have led Muslims around the world to celebrate on differing days. The two-day congress brought together astronomers and officials to create a unified calendar.