The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has urged Muslims across the country to pray at home during the forthcoming Eid-Fitr festival.
This was contained in a statement signed by Professor Salisu Shehu, Deputy Secretary-General, NSCIA on Wednesday.
According to him, the advice was given in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the globe.
The Eld-Fitri festival which signifies the end of the one-month of Ramadan fast is billed to take place at the weekend.
While urging Muslim faithful to abide by measures stipulated against the spread of the deadly Coronavirus that is ravaging the world, Sultan Abubakar also added that the Eid-il-fitr prayer is not compulsory religious event.
“These objectives of shari’ah are necessities for existence in every human society and every society is duty-bound to protect them.
“The steps taken to contain COVID-19, including restrictions in the observance of our cherished religious activities, are in furtherance of the letter and spirit maqaasid shari’ah. Every discerning Muslim is aware that the prevailing doctrine of necessity due to Coronavirus is not just a Nigerian issue, it is a global matter of concern.
“Meanwhile, as the month of Ramadan is gradually coming to an end and the Eid-ul-fitr is approaching, it is crucial to reiterate that we are living in unusual times when almost everything normal has become abnormal, including social gatherings and large congregational prayers.
“Therefore, Muslims are enjoined to note that Eid-ul-fitr is not a compulsory religious activity (fard) and at no point should it be observed if doing so will undermine the fundamental purpose of shari’ah: security, a multifaceted concept which includes personal, community, national, environmental and health components, among others.
“Muslims should, therefore, act according to the established protocol in their various communities and locations in Nigeria during the forthcoming Eid-ul-fitr.
He stated that Muslims should observe their Eid prayers in places that restrictions have been lifted but with caution that they must take note of necessary measures stipulated by the government to prevent further spread of Coronavirus.
“In places where restrictions have been lifted from congregational prayers, Muslims should observe their Eid prayers while still taking necessary safety measures regarding personal hygiene, facial masks and social distancing.
“It is even advisable that in such places, massive gatherings at one Eid ground in a big city should be avoided. Rather the Eid could be performed in area-Mosques to avoid unmanageable crowds.
While urging that Muslims should be law-abiding, Sultan Abubakar also advised that they should pray in their various houses in areas where restrictions are still in force.
“However, in places where the ban on large congregational prayers and socio-religious gatherings is still in force, Muslims are directed to be law-abiding while appreciating that intentions supersede actions and actions are judged on the basis of intentions, as Prophet Muhammad said (Buhari and Muslim).
“Muslims are advised to be law-abiding in all circumstances while praying to Allah fervently in their various homes, if that is what the situation requires, to forgive our sins and heal the world from destructive and disruptive diseases like Coronavirus.
“Certainly, people all over the world at large and Nigeria in particular are under intense pressure and the sooner the pandemic is over, the better for us all.
“In wishing our brothers and sisters happy Eid-ul-fitr in advance, we urge the Muslim ummah to let the lessons of Ramadan regarding faith, patience, self-discipline, devotion, steadfastness and righteousness continue to guide their conviction and conduct beyond the glorious month. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His chosen servants. May Allah be glorified at the beginning and the end and in all circumstances.Taqabbala Llaahu minnaa wa minkum!”, he prayed.