For the first time from time immemorial, a heavy downpour has altered the traditional venue and the time scheduled for prayers to wrap up the abstaining month of Ramadan in the Upper East region, compelling some Muslims to pray in structures least expected for the all-important occasion – kiosks.
The prayer gathering, which was supposed to start with arrival of worshippers at 8:00am Monday, finally began at 9:48am, when it should have long ended, at the Bolgatanga Central Mosque, about 1.2 kilometres away from the usual venue- the NAFAC Grounds.
The rare rain came as early as about 7:00am and took so long a stretch to subside that residents, who were caged in their homes as streams of rainwater ran freely through deserted roads and streets, feared the Eid al-Fitr prayers finally could be held at an unimaginable nightfall. Some, who poured out in their numbers after the long-lived shower had dwindled, also brought the fasting period to an end standing next to each other’s shoulders throughout without a shelter to pray as the subsided rain built up once more.
Starr News, after spotting some worshippers lined up in front of closed kiosks and in the rain around the prayers venue, sought answers for reasons people still had to pray under harsh conditions outside a sanctuary touted as the biggest mosque in Ghana.
“This mosque is the biggest worship centre in the whole of Ghana. It is even bigger than the National Mosque, the one built by the Turkish at Kawokudi Junction in Accra. It can seat 15,000 people. A lot of people went inside. There is no space left; that’s why those outside couldn’t go in. It is today we have seen that it can’t accommodate the Muslims in Bolgatanga.
“It had ever rained before on Eid day in the region; but the rain stopped at dawn. This is the first time it has rained throughout Eid prayers in the region at a level we had to relocate the venue. Since we started Eid in Bolga, this is the first time we are holding Eid in the mosque,” Alhaji Awudu Gariba, a popular Islamic leader in the region, told Starr News at the forecourt of the yet-to-be-completed central mosque.
Dr. Bawumia donates cash for mosque project started with NDC’s Alhaji Bature
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, according to Alhaji Gariba, ended his recent Ramadan tour of the region with a contribution of Gh¢5,000 towards to the Bolgatanga Central Mosque project said to have started with the Managing News Editor of Ghana’s Alhajj Newspaper, Alhaji Iddrisu Bature, as Project Manager.
“Alhaji Bature and I started the foundation of this project. He was the Project Manager and I was the first Financial Controller for the project as far back in the 1970s. It started with the contributions of Muslims most of whom have passed on. The execution is taking so long because we regretfully made the size of the mosque very big. It is the size that is making it difficult for us to complete.
“Not long ago, the Vice President, Bawumia, was here. He donated Gh¢5,000. We got sand and other materials. But we plastered only the other side and this front and, then, the money is finished. And even we had some materials on the ground already. So you can see, if it had been a smaller project you could see how far it would have gone with the Gh¢5,000,” Alhaji Gariba stated.
Stop smearing Islam- Gov’t to Muslim youths
The all-wet Eid al-Fitr saw several petty traders, who always throng the usual Islamic prayer grounds, disappointed at the involuntary change of venue.
Whilst the disappointed traders, mostly women and girls, held their waists Monday with a deep frown at the rain that been ‘hardworking’ throughout the last week to the pleasure of shower-starved farmers in the region, the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, who led government officials and security chiefs to the mosque, gave a message which the traders looked too angry to be concerned about.
“I would urge you to take advantage of the government intervention such as the fertiliser subsidy and the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme to improve our economic condition. There would be free seeds, which have started coming into the region. And fertiliser price has also been reduced by 50%. Let us all be vigilant to ensure that these fertilisers are not smuggled out by providing the necessary information to the police,” the Regional Minister said.
He added, with emphasis: “Fellow Muslims, there has also been a long-held wrong perception that it is mostly the Zongo youth who foment trouble and disturb the peace in our dear country, especially with reference to political activities. But I strongly call on all Muslims to pledge on this important day Eid al-Fitr that we will live above reproach and refrain from any acts that have the tendency of smearing Islam, the religion that places very high premium on peace and harmonious co-existence.”
Published on 27 June 2017 | 9:25 am at Source