The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has urged Muslim faithful to comply with the government’s COVID-19 protocols ahead of this year’s Eid al-Adha celebration.
Friday July 31 is the Eid al-Adha day celebration, otherwise known as Big Sallah, when rams and other designated animals are slaughtered as part of the religious activities marking the day.
This is contained in a statement on Sunday and signed by the Deputy Secretary-General, NSCIA, Prof. Salisu Shehu.
Leader of NSCIA, HRH Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto, said in a statement this year’s Eid is particularly significant as there will be three Khutbahs (sermons) within two days; the Khutbah of Arafat on Thursday, 9th of Dhul-Hiijah and the khutbahs of Eid and Jumu’ah on Friday, 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, 1441 AH.
“Indeed, these are extraordinary days every Muslim should reflect and maximise the rare opportunities and virtues they present to invoke the mercy of Allah and His blessings.
“In line with the tradition of the Prophet, Muslims who are not on Hajj are encouraged to fast on the day of ‘Arafat, the 9th day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, 1441 AH, equivalent to Thursday, 30th July, 2020, while praying fervently to Allah for the forgiveness of sins and healing of the world from all diseases, most especially the destructive Coronavirus,” Shehu said.
Eid congregation not compulsory
He however said that as Eid al-Adha comes close by, it is crucial to reiterate that the nation is living in unusual times where normalcy has become abnormal, including social gatherings and large congregational prayers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Muslims are enjoined to note that Eid al-Adha 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, communal, national, environmental and health components, among others. This is to say that it is not over until it is over.
“In Islam, this security operates at five cardinal levels, otherwise referred to as maqaasidus shari’ah or objectives of Shari’ah. These are the security of religion, life, intellect, procreation and property. These objectives of Shari’ah are basic necessities for existence in every human society and every society is duty-bound to protect them.
“The steps taken to contain COVID-19, including restrictions in the observance of our cherished religious activities, are in furtherance of the letter and spirit of maqaasid shari’ah. Every discerning Muslim is aware that the prevailing doctrine of necessity due to coronavirus is not just a Nigerian issue, it is a global matter of concern,” Shehu said.
He urged Muslims to continue to act according to the established protocol in their various communities and locations in Nigeria during the forthcoming Eid al-Adha.
He said that in places where restrictions have been lifted from congregational prayers, Muslims should observe their Eid prayers while still taking necessary safety measures regarding personal hygiene, facial masks and social distancing.
According to him, it is even advisable that in such places, massive gatherings at one Eid ground in a big city should be avoided and that rather the Eid could be performed in area-Mosques to avoid unmanageable crowds.
He said, “However, in places where the ban on public congregational prayers and socio-religious gatherings is still in force, Muslims are directed to be law-abiding while appreciating the fact that intentions supersede actions and actions are judged on the basis of intentions, as Prophet Muhammad said.”
Speaks on Hajj 2020
Also speaking on the circumstances of this year’s hajj, Shehu said that with Hajj 2020 being suspended for international participants, save for those in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the NSCIA urged Nigerian Muslims who had intended Hajj but could not actualise their intention to consider using part (if not all) of the funds meant for the pilgrimage for charitable causes that are capable of earning them the reward of Hajj and much more.
He said that for those who are willing to spend on charity but lack the trusted and assured channel to execute such, the NSCIA has a special agency registered solely for implementing social and charity projects, which is the Mission for Education, Socials and Health (MESH).
He added that MESH can be contacted via: firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone number, 08099332299.
Source: Daily Trust