By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Sultan ok Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, has announced that the Eid-el-Fitr prayers are not obligatory during such times when there is a crisis in the land or outbreak of pandemic as it is with the case of novel coronavirus currently ravaging the world.
He explained that the clarification had become imperative with current apprehension among the Muslims faithful who are looking forward to congregating in commemoration of the end of the one-month Ramadan fast.
Abubakar, who doubled as the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), explained that Muslims are allowed to observe the prayers at home in line with current realities and government directives banning religious gatherings and that of social distancing emplaced in the country to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
Sultan, through a statement released to newsmen yesterday by the NSCIA Deputy Secretary-General, Prof. Salisu Shehu, maintained that the new reality of existence dictates that Muslims should shun acts capable of undermining the government measures to flatten the curve of the deadly respiratory disease in the country.
According to him, Muslims are enjoined by the Almighty to respect their leaders and the law of the land after respecting the dictates of the Almighty and his prophet.
“As the month of Ramadan is gradually coming to an end and the Eid-el-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-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).
“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,” the statement read.