, MOMBASA, Kenya, Aug 11 – President Mwai Kibaki has sent a message of greetings and goodwill to the Muslim community in Kenya as they start observing the Holy month of Ramadhan.
In his message, President Kibaki wished all Muslims in Kenya Saum Maqbool and Ramadhan Mubarak.
The President also urged Kenyan Muslims to offer special prayers for unity in the country particularly now that the referendum is over and the country prepares to embark on the implementation of the new Constitution.
"In this month of spiritual purification and regeneration, I call upon all Muslims to pray that our country may be a prosperous land of peace and happiness for all," President Kibaki said.
The Head of State noted that the Holly month of Ramadhan marks an important period in the Muslim calendar as it is a special time of both sacrifice and purification when Muslims across the world renew their commitment to obey and serve God.
The President said: "In solidarity with the Kenyan Muslim, I hope that the Holy month of Ramadhan will once again remind all Kenyans of the need to reflect on the quality of their relationship with God and be compassionate to the needy."
In the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which the first verses of the Qur\’an are said to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, participating Muslims refrain from drinking, eating and sexual activities from dawn until sunset.
Fasting is intended to teach Muslims the virtues of patience, humility and spirituality, and is carried out as an offering to God.
Muslims are expected to start observing the fasting ritual once they reach puberty, as long as they are healthy.
During Ramadhan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance on new problems, and ask for help in refraining from everyday \’evils\’.
They are expected to perform their religious duties with greater diligence than usual and to reflect on the teachings of Islam.
Participating Muslims are encouraged to try to read the entire Qur’an during the month of Ramadhan. They must strive to maintain pure thoughts and avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds.
The holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadhan and the first day of the following month, which is called called Shawwal.
When fasting is over, celebrations are held and Muslims go to their mosques to say the first Eid prayer.