THOUSANDS of Nelson Mandela Bay Muslims are gearing up to usher in the new Islamic month as Eid celebrations, marking the end of Ramadan, draw near.
Due to the celebrations, motorists who regularly use Bramlin Street can expect an increase in traffic volumes as Muslims attend Eid morning prayers at a site designated for open-air prayer services called the Eidgah or Mussala.
About 10 000 people are expected at this year’s prayer services.
Motorists have been asked to exercise caution and patience when using the road, as foot traffic also increases.
According to Islamic scholars, the day of Eid will in all likelihood be Saturday, as the new moon for the month of Shawwal rose this morning at 3.24.
In the Islamic calendar, Islamic scholar Moulana Nazir Desai said, a month lasts 29 or 30 days.
“If the moon is sighted [today], Eid will be on Friday. If not, Friday will be the 30th day of Ramadan and Eid will be on Saturday,” he said.
The Eidgah (Mussala) site on Bramlin Street has been used by the Muslim community for the past 20 years.
“This was the first structure purposebuilt in Port Elizabeth for open-air prayer services. Muslims use the site twice a year to offer Eid prayers,” Moulana Desai said.
“In this month the Koran, which has 30 chapters, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed [Peace be upon Him] and special prayers are held each night, with one chapter of the Koran being recited from memory, after the night prayer [Al-Esha].”
“In this way the entire Koran is recited during the sacred month,” Desai said.
“Muslims are also expected to feed the poor and increase charity.”
The celebration of Eid ul-Fitr signals the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Muslims the world over engage in special prayer service “thanking the Lord Most High for his guidance throughout the holy month and also to render thanks for granting them the physical and spiritual ability to complete 30 days of fasting”, Moulana Desai said.
In the event of bad weather, Desai said, Eid prayers would be moved to the Darul Uloom in Malabar and to other mosques around the Bay.