Eid ul Fitr


Eid ul Fitr was celebrated on both Friday and Saturday, 21 and 22 April 2023 respectively in the Republic of The Gambia. The reason for the difference in the days of celebration could plausibly be attributed to the perennial difference of approach to the sighting of the crescent. The approach of sighting the crescent in various areas by various individuals deemed trustworthy is adopted by some people while others would simply count on one or two reports of its sighting. Both approaches are commendable since they consecrate the sacrosanct Islamic position of valuing the difference of opinion as elucidated by the Prophet’s Hadith: “Difference of opinion among my followers (Ummah) is a proof of compassion”.

Owing to the foregoing reasons, celebration of Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha has varied from one region to the other since the advent of Islam to this day. However, in modern times, some Muslim nation states have devised some ingenious ways of ensuring consensus among the faithful within the borders of one state. Nevertheless, there are still many others that allow different celebrations to take place such as some neighbouring countries like Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau, etc.

As for The Gambia, unfortunately no genuine attempts have been made to reconcile the differing positions towards the sighting of the crescent. On the contrary, coercion to impose a monolithic stance was once adopted but woefully failed. Sadly, we have sensed the re-emergence of the demons of coercion and arbitrariness in the Koriteh statement made by President Adama Barrow at the recurrent gathering of Banjul Muslim elders at the State House to mark the end of Ramadan. We see in his statement a veiled threat to Rawdatul Majalis when he insinuated that opposition exists even in matters of religion but there is a limit to everything.


Rawdatul Majalis would like to avail itself of the president’s allusions to respectfully entreat him to promote reconciliation and harmony among the Muslim brethren of The Gambia. Rawdat has always striven to get the Gambia Government through the ministry in charge of religious affairs to iron out differences between religious groups of different outlooks. Unfortunately, our clarion calls have fallen on the deaf ears of the ministry. The latter has chosen to take sides and to issue veiled threats to Rawdat.

Rawdat is reminding the government that authoritarianism in Islam is always doomed to failure and that international and national human rights instruments and institutions unequivocally guarantee the fundamental right to freedom of opinion and belief.

Rawdat therefore calls on the Gambia Government to foster reconciliation by bringing us together at a roundtable where we can iron out our certainly reconcilable differences.


Majmouatou Rawdatul Majalis

Sherif Nano Hydara