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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Columnist: Salifu Muammar Al-Qathafi

Muslims should have two days for Eid celebrations

Eid, the festival of Muslims, is a very special time in the life of every Muslim. It is an important religious holiday which comes twice in a year, and it is supposed to be a time for families to come together and celebrate.

The government gives only a day's holiday for Muslims to celebrate Eid, which in all reasonableness and fairness, is inadequate. This is an opinion shared by almost all members of the Muslim community and is a seasonal point of discussion. Why do Muslims hold the view that it is inadequate?

This may be controversial to some, but I choose to speak about this because there is no need mincing words. There is a popular saying in Dagbanli that, 'When two people are fighting, you don't give one a stick and the other a cornstalk.' Of course, except that in this case, two people aren't fighting. They're at peace and living in harmony together. Christians get ample time to celebrate Christmas and Easter, two of their most important religious festivals. This is good. Muslims deserve something similar; two days to celebrate.

Also, a one day holiday is not enough for most people to travel home or anywhere else to celebrate and enjoy the spirit of Eid. Imagine working or schooling out of town and never getting to spend Eid or Sallah with your family.

This is too widespread. So many families are 'incomplete' during Eid because a parent or a sibling cannot travel home as they have to be at work or school the day after. It is virtually impossible to travel from, for example, Accra to Kumasi to spend Eid if you have to get back to work the next day. The only way to make the trip would be to leave back on the same day of Eid, which makes it even more insulting. Just as Christmas is not only about going for service Christmas day, Eid or Sallah is also not just about going for Eid or Sallah prayers.

There is supposed to be feasting, family bonding and visiting of other family and friends. During Easter, even schools are usually in recess to enable students be home and enjoy such a beautiful period with their families. Aren't Muslims suffering then if they can't be home to enjoy their religious festival?

Eid is also a period to engage in charitable giving. Some people spend the day after Eid prayers cooking and giving out food to the needy of the society. Others travel far and wide to visit hospitals, children's homes etc to give out gifts. They miss out on such blessed activities if they are given only the day of Eid prayers as a holiday.

Some may argue that there are too many holidays in Ghana. Actually, that argument cannot hold because countries that are better off than Ghana even have more holidays than we do. We cannot tie our productivity to the number of holidays we have. Our productivity depends on our work ethics and attitude.

The government should give two days holiday for Eid when the day after Eid will not fall on a weekend. It is the right thing to do.