Authorities in Saudi Arabia announced the official sighting of the moon on Thursday, and said the Eid Al-Fitr celebration will begin Friday for Muslims in Egypt, Morocco, Sudan and a host of countries.
South Africa also is among nations observing the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which is marked by the appearance of the Shawwal moon – an especially bittersweet moment for South African Muslims, which saw both the beginning and end of Ramadan marked by fatal mosque attacks.
President Cyril Ramaphosa extended condolences to the families and community in Malmesbury, a Western Cape town where two people died and several others were injured in a brutal mosque attack early Thursday. One person also died in May when the Imam Hussaini Shia Mosque was attacked in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Ramaphosa also issued a statement from Pretoria wishing all Muslims a blessed and spiritually fulfilling Eid al-Fitr, normally a time of joyous celebration. “May Allah bless all our Muslim brothers and sisters and shower them with spiritual blessings, peace and success,” Ramaphosa said. “May this holiday remind us to continue with all good deeds by lending a helping hand to those in need.”
In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to Muslims to carry the virtues of Islam beyond Ramadan observance and into day-to-day life all year.
“Religion should be the moral compass for all believers in their public and personal lives,” Buhari said. It would bring an end to corruption, greed and profiting from the misery of others. “It is impossible to separate morality from religion, and removing this connection encourages corrupt leaders and other exploiters to commit atrocities against the society,” he added.
Image: Royal Museums Greenwich