Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef conducted prayers before a huge congregation in Male’ this morning, as thousands of Maldivians joined fellow Muslims across the globe in celebrating Eid ul-fitr (the festivity of breaking the fast).
Up to 50,000 people were reported to have attended the ceremony in the stadium area on Ameenee Magu at 7:00am.
The area, more commonly used for games of football, was prepared to accommodate male worshippers, whilst provisions were made for female worshippers in the adjoining track area.
During the 20 minute sermon, the Imam advised young people to be steadfast in their prayers and to avoid the intellectual war with which they are faced, reported local media.
Ameenee Magu was closed to traffic as tables were arranged, laden with food for the early-morning worshippers, celebrating the end of Ramazan and its month of daytime fasting.
President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s released a statement yesterday calling for unity and brotherhood over the holiday period, which runs for the three days following the end of Ramazan.
Waheed stressed the importance of strengthening family relations over the Eid period as well as placing national interests above personal ones.
The President, after attending this morning’s prayers, made his way to the official residence of the President, Muleeaage where he received members of the public after 9:30AM.
Along with the First Lady Madam Ilham Hussein, Waheed was visited by state ministers, members of parliament, state dignitaries and foreign diplomats.
Zakat – the giving of alms – one of the five pillars of Islam, occurred before the Eid prayers.
Local media reported that 80,408 people paid Zakat in the Maldives this year, amounting to MVR2.4 million (US$155,642) for distribution to the needy.
The ministry noted that a large number of people were paying Zakat through means other than the government.