World Bulletin/News Desk
Zambia’s Muslims have joined hundreds of millions of coreligionists around the world in celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the advent of Eid al-Fitr holiday, but with a special view of reaching out to their non-Muslim countrymen.
“As part of Eid celebration, we will share food and drink with our neighbors and we shall give gifts to those who are in need, without considering the religion they belong to,” National Coordinator of the Zambia Islamic Council Judas Adam Phiri told Anadolu Agency.
By doing so, Phiri hopes, the spirit of the Eid would help boost the country’s sense of unity and harmonization, especially with the nation celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence from Britain next October.
"Unity is our strength. We have been united all along. We have to do all it takes to remain united as Zambians,” he said.
Reflecting on the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Phiri seemed quite satisfied at a tendency among the country’s Muslims to dedicate part of their prayers for the nation and for its well-being.
“Ramadan has been a period of deep reflection, love and sacrifice. It was also a moment when the Muslim faithful offered prayers to Allah, not just for themselves, but also for our communities and the nation as a whole,” he said. “May the prayers that have been offered to Almighty Allah receive favorable responses.”
Most of the prayers, he said, asked for peace to prevail in Zambia. “Peace is condition number one for any nation to develop,” he argued. “A God-fearing nation needs no more prisons [and] instead uses the money for building more schools. The necessity of the holy month of Ramadan therefore afforded us the opportunity to beg for forgiveness of our sins and get close to the almighty Allah.”
According to Phiri, Muslims around the world are encouraged to continue observing the Islamic teachings after Ramadan and pray for peace and reconciliation in the world.
”We have a duty to pray for peace and reconciliation because many times we have wronged each other and we need forgiveness from those people we have offended. It is through this forgiveness and reconciliation we shall achieve the much desired peace. In this way, our life will be more rewarding and beneficial.”
Muslims currently account for between 5 and 12 percent of the country's total population of roughly 14.2 million.
Now as Ramadan came to an end, Phiri said, it is time for Muslims to rejoice and celebrate after completing the long-month fasting.
“But most importantly, I want to invite our Muslim brothers and sisters in this country to pray for peace and reconciliation ahead of our jubilee celebration which will take place on October 24,” he said.
He went on to say it was crucial that Zambians continue to live in harmony, irrespective of their religious, political or social inclinations.
"We need each other more than ever now that as a country we are faced with the threats coming to our country in different forms,” he said.
“We believe the continuous prayers and fasting has contributed to the harmonious co-existence which has characterized Zambia and has become the bedrock for peace and tranquility, stability and development in the country.
“But we want this trend to continue for the next fifty years to come.”
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