First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has yesterday hosted thousands of Muslim women to a special Iftar Dinner as they prepared to break the month-long Ramadhan and commemorate Idd-ul-Fitr.
The over 3500 Muslims women from the grassroots (but joined by non-muslim friends) were drawn from all the 47 counties, majority of them coming from Nairobi as the host County.
Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadhan fast at sunset but today’s dinner at State House, Nairobi was the last Iftar ahead of the Idd-ul-Fitr expected to be commemorated tomorrow or Monday depending on the siting of the moon.
The First Lady described the Iftar as a special occasion that cements the strong bond of unity among Kenyan women of all walks of life regardless of their religions and beliefs
“The Iftar we are sharing today is also special, because women from across the country and all walks of life are here in unity representing Muslim and non- Muslim communities of Kenya.
“So, as we sit together this evening, let us resolve to strengthen our common bond of friendship and unity. Let us also reflect on the teachings that binds us all together – teachings of peace, love, sharing and caring for one another”, said the First Lady.
Idd-ul-Fitr is the culmination of the Holy month of Ramadhan when Muslims worldwide complete the mandatory fasting (Saum) period.
Mandatory fasting among Muslims is one of the five pillars of Islam where Muslim faithful are required to stay without food, water and other luxuries except under special occasions including sickness or when travelling.
The fasting allows the Muslims to concentrate in prayer, reflection and good deeds like forgiveness.
The Holy month of Ramadhan is observed by Muslims worldwide . It heralds the Islamic month of Shawwal.
The First Lady said women are inherently blessed with unique strengths whose potential can only be realized in an environment of peace and harmony.
“These strengths can only be fulfilled where there is peace and harmony. So, as we share in the happiness of this evening, I urge us to also remember and thank God for the gains women have made as leaders, mentors and role models in Kenya”, said the First Lady
She re-assured Kenyan women that she will continue the work of Beyond Zero that focuses on maternal health, child survival and the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/Aids .
“It is my greatest hope that we can continue this journey together and that you will give me ideas on what else we can do in the coming years in our walk together”, she said.
The Beyond Zero initiative also focuses on creating awareness among adolescents on the issues related to HIV and how they can keep off the Scourge.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Cabinet Secretaries Ambassador Amina Mohammed (Foreign Affairs), Sicily Kariuki ( Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs), Kwale Women representative Zeinab Chidzuga, and nominated MP Amina Abdalla.
The latter two called on the women to vote wisely in the August elections to give President Kenyatta and the Jubilee Administration an opportunity to complete the ongoing transformative socio-economic , educational and infrastructural programmes and projects across the country.
They also called on the women to be the chief agents of peace across the country during the electioneering period.
Others at the dinner included representatives of Foreign missions and Principal Secretaries.
Ustadh ( equivalent of a Sheikh) Batuli Suleimani led in the Maghrib prayers for the occasion.