Section of Muslims in Kenya defy Chief Kadhi, hold Idd-ul-Fitr prayers

Hundreds of Muslims flocked to various mosques and grounds for prayers to mark the celebrations.

What you need to know:

  • Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar on Wednesday evening announced that Muslims will mark the Idd prayers on Friday.
  • Sheikh Muhdhar made the announcement in Mombasa after a crescent moon failed to be sighted in the country.

A section of Muslims in Mombasa County yesterday gathered in various places to celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr, in defiance of the Chief Kadhi’s advisory.

Many of the faithful attended morning prayers at various mosques while others thronged Tononoka grounds before returning home to celebrate with their families.

At Masjid Al-Farouq in Nyali, the  faithful attended prayers with their children with strict observance of the Covid-19 protocols as they wore masks and observed social distancing during the 7am prayers. 


Sheikh Mohamed Hussein (front) of Jamia Mosque in Eldoret town leads Muslim faithful during Idd prayers to mark the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan at Uasin Gishu Primary School grounds on May 13, 2021.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

For yet another year, there seem to be differences on when exactly the 30 days of fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadhan end, with some Muslims starting celebrations today (Friday) in line with Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar’s advisory. 

According to the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) acting chairman Hassan Ole Naado, the difference arises from the sighting of the moon. 

“This is purely premised on Islamic traditions, there is nothing wrong; it is an issue of jurisprudence. There are groups of Muslims that rely on global moon-sighting, while others follow regional or local sighting. Both schools of thought are based on Islamic teachings. It is only Allah who knows what is right or wrong,” Mr Naado told the Nation on phone.

Difference in dates

He rationalised that whatever is done with good intentions always attracts blessings from Allah and Muslims need not worry about the difference in dates.

He further pointed out that differences on when the month of Ramadhan ends is a global issue and Kenya is not an exception. 

On Wednesday night, Chief Kadhi Muhdhar announced from Mombasa that the official date of Idd celebrations is today. 

“We have consulted but we have not been able to sight the moon today (Wednesday) either in Kenya, Tanzania or Zanzibar. We hereby announce that we will complete the 30 days of fasting on May 13,” the Chief Kadhi said.


Women and their children attend Idd prayers at Al Farouq mosque in Nyali, Mombasa County on May 13, 2021.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho backed Mr Naado’s views.  

“The most important thing for us is to respect one another. It should not be a point of argument. You celebrate the day you are comfortable with, we remain brothers, one people and one community. Let us not be divided,” the governor said.

He said the month of Ramadhan offered 30 days of reflection and lessons and appealed to residents of Mombasa to continue observing Covid-19 control protocols.

Three-day festival

“As we celebrate, adhere to the protocols to protect your loved ones. This is the day of forgiveness, generosity and kindness. Let us pray for one another and our country,” he said.

Mombasa businessman Suleiman Shahbal noted: “As a people, we must find hope from all this because after every difficulty comes ease, just like the fasting person who, after sacrificing for a whole month, now celebrates Idd and is looking forward to meeting his Lord for his reward.” 

Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed, who was at the Al Farouq mosque, called on Muslims to be steadfast in prayers for Allah to end the deadly Covid-19 pandemic so that people can go back to doing business.


A family attends Idd prayers at Tononoka Grounds in Mombasa on May 13, 2021.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

Mr Naado called on Muslims to pray for an end to the escalating violence between Israel and Palestine.

“It is sad that as we end Ramadhan in celebrations, we are witnessing rising violence between Israel and Palestine. We call upon all feuding parties to end this senseless fight, retreat from their hard-line positions and seek dialogue,” Mr Naado appealed.

Idd-ul-Fitr is a three-day festival that includes special morning prayers and sumptuous. Muslims are also encouraged to forgive and seek forgiveness. It is also a time for charity, with gifts given to children and those in need.