The Mudeer of the Arabic and Islamic Training Centre, famously known as Markaz Agege, Sheikh Habeebullahi Adam Al-Ilory today, Wednesday, June 5 led thousands of his followers to observe the 2019 Eid-el-Fitr prayer.
His action went directly against the injunction of the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Saa’d Abubakar III, who had declared yesterday, Tuesday, June 4 as Eid-el-Fitr.
Sheikh Habeeb, who leads one of Nigeria’s premier Arabic schools, criticised Sultan Abubakar’s announcement of moon sighting in Kaduna, Kebbi, Yobe and some other states in Nigeria, insisting that there was no way the crescent could have been sighted on Monday.
In a 30-second video cut from his Ramadan Tafsir, Sheikh Habeeb said, “It is almost impossible for us to observe Eid on Tuesday. Forget it, because the moon cannot be sighted on Monday. It is a fallacy for anyone to claim to have sighted the moon on Monday. I mean it. You can quote me.”
Sheikh Habeeb’s action, Muslim News learnt, has divided Nigerian Muslim netizens, with some questioning the veracity of the work of the National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC), headed by Prof Usman Elnafaty.
NMSC is under the leadership of Sultan Saa’d Abubakar, who also doubles as President-General of the National Supreme Council for Islamic for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
By virtue of his position as the Amir-ul-Mu’mineen (Head of Nigeria’s Muslim community), Muslim News can authoritatively confirm that the power to declare the commencement and termination of the Ramadan fast in Nigeria lies with the Sultan, and by extension, the National Moon Sighting Committee.
It is noteworthy that Sheikh Habeeb also claimed that the calculation for the termination of this year’s Ramadan fast was faulty, thereby leading many of his supporters in Lagos – though infinitesimal – to fast yesterday, which they considered to be Day 30 of Ramadan. Some, however broke their fasts, observed Eid with majority of Muslims, and still went ahead to re-pray the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Markaz premises in Lagos.
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