The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, led by its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III, has ordered the suspension of the congregational prayers (tarawih), tafsir (exegesis of the Qur'an) and I'tikaf (seclusion in a mosque) during this year's Ramadan.
This was part of the resolution of a 10-man fatwa committee's emergency webhosted meeting on COVID-19 held yesterday.
According to the sultan, in a release statement last night, the obligatory Jum'ah prayer, temporarily suspended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, outweighs the performance of any meritorious religious act like congregational tarawih and the conduct of tafsir.
He said: "Consequently, the council advises the Ummah (Muslims) that the congregational tarawih in the mosque and the various Majalis Tafsir (session) during the month of Ramadan of 1441 A.H be suspended. In the same vein, I'tikaf is suspended and those willing to engage in I'tikaf are advised to do so in their homes."
He said scholars of Islam worldwide were unanimous that Prophet Muhammad warned against the spread of contagious diseases and urged Muslims to prevent it.
He said the closure of the two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia for both congregational worship and social functions was a pointer to its compliance to the prophetic teachings on the subject matter.
He added: "Individual scholars and organizations are encouraged to employ available means of disseminating information such as radio, television, print, social and traditional media for the conduct of the tafsir and other da'awah (Islamic propagation) activities.
The NSCIA had earlier order the suspension of Jumat and other congregational prayers in mosques nationwide.