|His Eminence, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Muhammad Abubakar
As Muslims all over the world prepare for the commencement of the annual Ramadan fast amid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has directed that all congregational activities during the holy month be suspended.
Also, the Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Sulaiman Oluwatoyin Abou-Nolla and other Islamic scholars around the country urged Muslims to adhere to the directives, take precautions and limit social gatherings in order to curb the spread of the virus.
Recently, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the kingdom, asserted that prayers during Ramadan, including nightly Tarawih and Eid-il-Fitr prayers, should be performed at home as the pandemic rages on around the world.
Also, according to Grand Chief Imam of the two mosque, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais wrote on his Twitter , “The Saudi authorities have decided to hold Tarawih and Tahajjud prayers in the Two Holy Mosques with a few scholars, while continuing to suspend the attendance of worshippers.” He added that authorities had also suspended “Itikaf” – a seclusion where Muslims spend the last ten days of Ramadan in mosques.
The Muslim apex body led by the Sultan of Sokoto directed that social gatherings during the month of Ramadan for public lectures, Tafsir, and It’kaf in the mosques be put on hold so as to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement signed by NSCIA Director of Administration, Alhaji Yusuf Nwoha, the
decision was reached after consideration of the report of the Fatwa Committee and the Ad-hoc Committee on COVID-19 under the General Purpose Committee (GPC) of the council.
Nwoha said: “The NSCIA under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alh. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR. mni, in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic considered the reports of the Fatwa Committee and the ad-hoc Committee on COVID-19 and observed that:
“Scholars of Islam throughout the world are unanimous that the Prophet of Islam warned against the spread of contagious diseases and urged Muslims to prevent the spread.
The closure of the two Holy Mosques in the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia for both congregational worship and social functions, which is applauded by Islamic Scholars throughout the world, is a pointer to its compliance to the Prophetic teachings on the subject matter.
|Sheikh Sulaiman Abuo-Nolla, Chief Imam of Lagos
“Jum’ah, as an obligatory religious activity, which is temporarily suspended to prevent the spread of COVID 19 outweighs the performance of any meritorious religious act such as congregational Tarawih and the conduct of Tafsir.
“Consequently, the Council directs that congregational Tarawih in the Mosque and the various MajalisTafsir (sessions) and I’tikaf during the month of Ramadan of 1441 A.H be suspended.
Individual Scholars and Organisations are encouraged to employ available means of disseminating information such as radio, television, other virtual facilities, print, social and traditional media for dissemination of tafsir and other da’awah activities.
Chief Imam of Lagos, others urge Muslims to pray at home
In a telephone conversation with Vanguard yesterday, Sheikh Nolla said the Tarawih congregational prayers as well as the public lectures and Tafsir where Muslims have to gather remain suspended not only in Lagos but other parts of the country to curb the spread of the virus.
Imam Murtadha Gusau, Okene, Kogi state said, “Mosques around the world have had to close their doors to curb the spread of this coronavirus, and countries have been sent into unprecedented lockdown across the world. Staying at home all day is proving a challenge for many. However, as Muslims, it is incumbent that we stay positive and see the glass half full rather than half empty.
“Spending Ramadan at home can be a blessing in disguise, but only if we choose to make it so. While there are many vices and evils that are prohibited in Islam, fasting is a practice that teaches us to give up even that which is permissible, i.e. food and drink. Why? To excel spiritually, develop self-control, relate with those less fortunate and, in turn, progress in gratitude.
“Interestingly, the coronavirus lockdown is teaching us the very same thing. We have given up our freedom, our right to socialise and our usual means of entertainment. These are only but a few examples of abstaining from what is usually permissible or even encouraged. All this became possible and endurable because of the end-result in mind: the greater good of humanity.
Sheikh Sulaiman Gunmi, Abuja based Islamic scholar also said that the Muslims will comply with the directives of the apex body.
Consequent upon the advice of the National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC), the President-General enjoined the Nigerian Muslim Ummah to search for the crescent of Ramadan 1441 AH immediately after sunset on Thursday, April 23, 2020, which is equivalent to 29th Sha’aban 1441 AH.
The Council while enjoining Muslims all over the Country to be on the lookout for the announcement of His Eminence, the President-General of NSCIA, on the commencement of the 1441 AH Ramadan fast, prayed Allah to spare our lives to this and many more Ramadans on the surface of the earth and give us the ability to carry out good deeds as much as possible.
The apex body also urged all Muslims to pray against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and help the nation to overcome it.
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