FROM the South to the North, the leadership of the Muslim ummah in the country have weighed options on the manner of Eid-el-Fitr celebrations this year amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The umbrella body of Muslims in the South-West, the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), stated that from the look of things, it is unlikely that prayers will be observed on Eid grounds in the zone on Eid Day to celebrate the end of Ramadan fast.
This is just as the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, issued a fatwa regarding this year’s Eid-el-Fitr prayer.
Under the fatwa, the JNI suspended Eid-el-Fitr congregation in the outskirts of towns and cities and asked that the celebratory prayer be observed at home with family members or alone, as the case may be.
MUSWEN, in a statement by its executive secretary, Professor Muslih Yahya, called on the faithful to join the rest of the ummah in the country in looking out for the crescent of Shawwal shortly before Maghrib today, which is 29th Ramadan 1441.
In the statement, the body said its skepticism on observing prayers on eid grounds was informed by the current social distancing regulations put in place by governments in South West states as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This notwithstanding, MUSWEN urged all Muslims to put on their best dresses on the Eid Day as recommended by authentic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and stay safely at home to mark this year’s Eid al-Fitr.
It also advised Muslims to give out Zakat ul-Fitr to the poor on behalf of every member of the family on the eve of the Eid Day or after the Fajr prayer of the Eid Day and shortly before the usual time for the Eid prayer.
Zakat ul-Fitr, MUSWEN stated, should be given out on a per-person basis in grains popular for food in the area such as rice, beans, maize and millet or other staple food items such as gari.
MUSWEN said: “The leadership and Management of MUSWEN and the entirety of the Ummah in the South West of Nigeria join the President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, in felicitating with the entire Ummah of Islam in Nigeria and all over the world on the approach of Eid-el-Fitri marking the end of Ramadan 1441.
“Indeed the Ramadan of this year has been extremely challenging for the Ummah. It has been the will of Allah to test how resolute and determined we can be in seeking to reach one another as one Ummah and try to please Him, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala as our Creator.
“A reflection over the circumstances and the atmosphere of the COVID-19 pandemic would show that the Ummah has a great deal of reasons to thank Allah for His mercy.
“Therefore, we have every reason to celebrate the Eid to the best of our ability, but with a great deal of caution and vigilance, and with Eman (faith) and Taqwa (being mindful of Allah). We beseech Him SWT, to overlook our human inadequacies and have more mercy on us.
“In the light of all this, MUSWEN wishes to issue the following guidelines and make some observations: