Abuja — The Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama'atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar, has again asked Nigerian Muslims to observe the congregational prayers for this year's Eid-el-Fitri in their homes.
This year's Eid-el-Fitri to mark the end of the Ramadan amid coronavirus outbreak is slated for Saturday or Sunday and the Sultan had urged Muslims to look out for the sighting of the moon.
Abubakar, who is the leader of Nigerian Muslims, also suspended all prayers, gatherings in the outskirts of towns and cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sultan, who spoke through the JNI Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, in a statement in Kaduna, however, noted that in states where government had reached decision to mark the Eid-el-Fitri, Muslims should observe social distancing, wear face masks and use hand sanitisers provided for worshippers to check the spread of the COVID-19.
The Sultan also warned Muslim leaders against unguarded utterances for the overall interests of the Nigerian Muslim community.
The statement read in part, "The Jama'atu Nasril Islam under the leadership of His Eminence, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, Sultan of Sokoto, in a mandate to the JNI Fatwa Committee, under the leadership of Sheikh Sheriff Ibrahim Saleh Alhusainy, CON, to come up with Fatwa regarding the year 2020 'Eid-el-Fitr prayer, and the committee after due consultations, as well as considerations of the current state - COVID-19 pandemic and the serious threat it poses to life, reached the following decisions:
"'Eid-el-Fitr congregation in the outskirts of towns and cities should be temporarily suspended. "That the said 'Eid-el-Fitr Prayer be observed at home with family members or alone at home.
"However, in states where governments have reached concrete decisions to observe the Eid-el-Fitr prayer, based on their medical experts advice, strictest measures of distancing, face masks and sanitisers be taken to protect worshipers. In this case, neighborhood mosques can be utilised if it becomes necessary.
"Ulama should fear Allah, the Most High and be mature enough in guarding their utterances and actions for the overall interest of the Deen and the Ummah."