The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has advised Muslims in Nigeria to be cautious about their conducts with regards to COVID-19 despite the easing of lockdowns in some states of the federation.
The Sultan, who is also the President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), said in a statement issued by the Deputy Secretary-General of the council, Professor Salisu Shehu, on Wednesday, that “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.”
He added, “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.”
He also said “Muslims should, therefore, act according to the established protocol in their various communities and locations in Nigeria during the forthcoming Eid-ul-Fitr. 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.
“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.
“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,” he said in the statement.