Preachers urge Yemenis to honour Ramadan

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

A Yemeni man reads the Qur'an at the Great Mosque in Sanaa's Old City on May 19th, during the holy month of Ramadan. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

A Yemeni man reads the Qur'an at the Great Mosque in Sanaa's Old City on May 19th, during the holy month of Ramadan. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

During the holy month of Ramadan, Yemeni scholars and preachers have been urging the faithful to renounce extremism and hostile acts, reject religious and social divisions, exercise tolerance and demonstrate compassion for the poor.

These messages are being shared with the public via an awareness programme implemented through the offices of the Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf) and Guidance in provinces under the control of the Yemeni government.

Scholars, preachers and counselors have been conducting field visits to various parts of the country during Ramadan to hold seminars and lectures in mosques.

These are designed to educate the Yemeni public about the virtues of Ramadan and to urge them to honour the month by performing good deeds, demonstrating compassion and tolerance and renouncing extremism.

"The awareness programme being implemented by scholars and male and female counselors includes acquainting the public with the virtues of the holy month," said Ahmed al-Saadi, director general of the Hadramaut Coast office.

Muslims are being urged to "pray, fast and get closer to God through performing good deeds, showing tolerance and renouncing violence, extremism and hatred" during the holy month, he told Al-Mashareq.

Ramadan outreach in Hadramaut

A group of scholars, male and female counselors and staff members from the Hadramaut Coast Office of Endowments and Guidance has been participating in the Ramadan awareness programme, al-Saadi said.

The office has 15 female counselors who have been conducting lectures for women in mosques and also visiting prisons to educate women inmates, in line with the programme's objectives, he said.

"The office's outreach team concluded a field visit campaign before Ramadan devoted to raising awareness about fighting extremism and terrorism," he said.

This was designed to steer Yemeni youth away from extremist ideology and thereby prevent bloodshed and the loss of innocent lives, al-Saadi added.

Sermons and lectures that seek to raise awareness about the dangers of violent extremist ideology are delivered more intensively during Friday sermons and seminars held during Ramadan, he said.

Raising awareness about the dangers of extremism, terrorism and bloodshed is a duty for scholars in all the programmes and meetings they hold during Ramadan and other months of the year, said Sheikh Jabri Ibrahim.

"The duty of scholars and counselors during the month of Ramadan is to educate the public," he told Al-Mashareq.

"This includes exhorting compassion, solidarity, reconciliation and tolerance and the renunciation of war, bloodshed, extremism and hostile acts," he said, adding that it is important that religious leaders emphasise the sanctity of blood.

'We must ask for forgiveness'

"It is not permissible to destroy the country under any name, especially in the month of Ramadan, during which we must ask for mercy and forgiveness and not shed more blood," Ibrahim said.

"The acts of those who blow themselves up and target innocent civilians are destructive and subversive and do not serve Muslims or Islam," he said, adding that these acts of violence "distort the image of Muslims and Islam".

Ibrahim called on scholars and preachers to intensify lectures and awareness-raising activities that exhort people to get closer to God during Ramadan.

In Hadramaut province, "the leadership of the local authority held numerous meetings with scholars to unify efforts" to uphold these values during the holy month, said Hadramaut deputy governor Abdul Hadi al-Tamimi.

These include "raising awareness about the dangers of the scourge of terrorism, which does nothing but take innocent lives", he told Al-Mashareq.

"Scholars are aware of this, and hence they must intensify their efforts during the month of Ramadan given the tremendous influence they have," he said.

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