- The directive by the Sultan of Sokoto on how the forthcoming Eid-el Fitr prayer should be held clashed with that of some northern governors
- While the Sultan said that Muslims should observe the prayers at home or area mosques to avoid large crowds, some northern governors have eased their Covid-19 lockdown to allow Eid prayers
- The Sultan said Eid-el-Fitr prayer is not a compulsory religious activity and man not be observed if doing so will undermine security, which includes health
There is a slight disagreement between the Sultan of Sokoto and governors of some states in the north over how the forthcoming Eid-el-Fitr prayers should be observed.
The Nation reports that Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar who is the president-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has given a directive that Muslims should observe the prayers at home as part of their observance of the COVID-19 protocols and to prevent the spread of the virus.
However, some governors, especially in the northern part of the country, have eased the lockdown, allowing Muslims to observe congregational prayers.
Kano state governor Abdullahi Ganduje earlier in the week announced that Muslims would be allowed to observe the Jumat prayer on Friday, May 22 and the Eid prayers subsequently.
On Wednesday, Bauchi state governor Bala Mohammed announced that Eid prayers would be allowed in the state with participants observing social distancing and wearing face masks
Other states like Yobe, Jigawa, Gombe, Borno and Zamfara have also opened mosques.
In a statement on Wednesday, May 20, NSCIA deputy secretary-general, Prof. Salisu Shehu said Muslims are enjoined to "note that Eid-el-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 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.
“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)."
The Sultan’s admonition was reechoed in Ilorin by the chief Imam of Uthman Bn Affan Mosque, Mallam Yusuf Alfulani-Abdullah, who asked all Muslims in Kwara state to observe the Eid-el fitr prayer in their homes.
He said: “Muslims can say the Eid prayer at home with family members, though traditionally the prayers are usually done with large congregations in mosques or open ground, but either ways Allah will hear the prayers.”
The cleric enjoined the faithful to continue to observe the physical distancing in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection.
Similarly, the executive secretary of the Muslim Ummah of South-West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Prof Muslih Yahya has also urged Muslims to pray at homes during the Eld-il-Fitr.
Prof Yahya in a statement on Wednesday said the state of things in the southwest necessitated the advice.
Also, mosques in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will remain shut as the FCT minister Muhammad Bello insisted he would not yield to pressure to reopen them ahead of the festival
Bello at a meeting with Muslim and Christian leaders explained that the FCT authorities were guided by advice from medical experts and guidelines of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in its decision not to reopen places of worship.
Eld-Fitri signifies the end of the one-month Ramadan fast. The prayers are likely to hold on Saturday, May 23 or Sunday, May 24, depending on when the Shawwal month is sighted.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that the Kano state government had outlined conditions for the Eid and Friday prayers in conformity with the COVID-19 protocols as highlighted by health professionals ahead of the upcoming Eid and the weekly Friday prayers.
A statement signed by Abba Anwar, the chief press secretary to the state government said the protocols would be distributed to the people.
The protocols were written in vernacular while the state government also plans to get them translated into Ajami (Arabic) for general use.
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