The Muslim Society in Kenya has expressed its gratitude to President Uhuru Kenyatta for pausing his speech yesterday during the funeral service of late Tanzanian Head of State John Pombe Magufuli in honour of Adhan, a Muslim call for prayer.
President Kenyatta, who doubles up as the Chairman for the East African Community (EAC), stole the show after he momentarily went silent for about two minutes when Adhan was called in a nearby Mosque.
In a special message to the Head of State, the society said the gesture is evident President Kenyatta acknowledges that religious tolerance fosters peace, co-operation and unity in any community.
“Let’s all seek to emulate our leader. The pause to honour the prayer call set out our president apart as a unifier in the ceremony attended by 10 heads of State,” the society said.
The society said President Kenyatta’s gesture is a lesson to everyone to be more tolerant and respectful of all faiths.
“The society would like to thank the president for pausing his speech… With the gesture it was evident that President Kenyatta acknowledges that religious tolerance fosters peace, co-operation and unity. May God bless you with happiness and good health,” the society added.
In Islamic traditions, the adhan is a formal announcement of each of the religion’s five daily prayers.
The adhan is also used to call believers to Friday worship at the mosque.
It is called out from the mosque by the muezzin, who stands either in the mosque’s minaret tower (if the mosque is large) or in a side door (if the mosque is small).
In modern times, the muezzin’s voice usually is amplified by a loudspeaker mounted on the minaret. Some mosques play a recording of the adhan instead.
In his address, President Kenyatta eulogised Magufuli as a hardworking and transformative leader whose rich legacy of success within a very short time earned him recognition and respect the world over.
“We mourn the loss of our friend, our brother, a hard worker, the Honorable John Pombe Magufuli. The President who was respected not only here in Tanzania but also in the entire East Africa, the whole of Africa and the entire world.
“He showed us that, as Africans we have the potential to liberate ourselves from dependence on foreigners. That we have potential as Africans to manage our economies and ensure that our people get justice,” he said.
Othe heads of state who attended the service held at Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma include Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Felix Tshisekedi (DR Congo) and Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique.
Also present were President’s Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi), Azali Assoumani (Comoros), Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe), Edgar Lungu (Zambia), and Mogkweetsi Masisi (Botswana).
The deceased, who according to Tanzanian authorities succumbed to heart complications last Wednesday, will be interred on Friday.