As the Muslim Ummah celebrates the 2020 Eid-ul-Adha festival amidst the Coronavirus pandemic regulations, Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafii and Amb. Abayomi Nurain Mumuni have extended their felicitations to Muslims in Nigeria and around the world, urging them to be moderate in their celebrations.
Sheikh Shafii and Amb Mumuni, in their separate Eid Messages, issued on Thursday, July 30, noted that it is safer for Muslim faithful to shelve plans of travelling to their various villages and hometowns for this year’s sallah holiday and adhere strictly to the COVID-19 regulations and precautions as they celebrate at home with their immediate families.
Sheikh Shafii, who is the Grand Mufti of Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO) said he would be celebrating the two-day FG declared Eid holiday with his family in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
According to him, “What is advisable is that people should try as much as possible to avoid travelling for Eid celebrations. In fact, I will not also be going anywhere as I will only be celebrating the eid with my family at home.”
Explaining further, the respected Islamic scholar said, “Lagos State is the hardest hit. The virus is more rampant here. So, we need to be extraordinarily careful. We may assume we are not carriers of the disease, but we are, in the real sense of it, and perhaps just asymptomatic.
“And as a result, we may keep spreading the virus. Islam abhors this in totality, causing distress to others. On this, the Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Do not cause distress to yourselves and others’. Therefore, to remain where we are is most advisable. It is not only in consonance with Islamic verdict, but also government advisories,” he added.
He, however, advised that those who are willing to travel should adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols, saying the new normal such as the use of face-mask, hand sanitizer, social distancing, etc. have to be embraced to minimize the spread of the virus.
According to him, “Those who, inevitably, will be travelling have to strictly adhere to safety rules. Our normal life can cause problems for us and other family members. We should embrace the new normal. Handshaking, hugging, warmth embracement of one another, as it used to be in the past should be avoided to minimize the spread of Coronavirus.
“Coronavirus is a hidden health challenge. In fact, experts say it may spend up to two weeks in an affected person before symptoms start to manifest. Thus, all safety protocols must be followed adequately. The use of face mask, washing our hands, use of sanitizers, social distancing and others.”
COVID-19 not a sign of end time
Sheikh Shafii’ maintained that Coronavirus is not a sign of end time as being postulated in some quarters, urging Muslim faithful to accept it as the wish of Allah (SWT).
He said, “I do not see it as a sign for the last hour because such has happened in the past. Whatever Allah ordains will come to pass. As Muslims, when things like this occur, the Prophet (SAW) taught us that whichever situation a Muslim finds himself is favourable for him, advising that we accept Allah’s wishes. This should be our belief as Muslims.”
Also speaking on the restricted Hajj 2020, which saw a handful Nationals from different countries based in the Saudi Arabia in attendance, Sheikh Shafi’i said, “First, what we are witnessing today is not really new. Similar cases have been witnessed in the past, where Muslim pilgrims could not make it to Hajj.
“There was a year a sect called ‘Qaramitah‘ — a breakaway of the larger Shiite group — gained access to Makkah during the period of Hajj just like we have it now, and carted away the ‘Ajar-l-Aswa‘ — Black Stone, killing no less than 30,000 Muslims. The following year, people did not show up for Hajj. Again, it spanned over 20 years before the Black Stone was recovered from these interlopers.
“Also, there was a time a deadly endemic ravaged certain countries like Egypt, Iraq and others, hindering Muslim faithful therein from participating in the religious rite of Hajj.
“In historical antecedents, there were accounts of ravaging endemics and pandemics over time. However, what makes this so loud and popularized is because of globalization and revolution in Information Communication, Technology (ICT), which make its international communication and interaction way easier.”
Presenting his assessment of the government in the fight against the Coronavirus, the Islamic leader noted that government at all levels should be appreciated for their efforts, while urging them to do more.
He said, “The COVID-19 pandemic came out of the blue. Many governments of the world, including the super world powers, were least prepared for it. When the reality set in, all they could do was to adjust and adapt to the situation. Therefore, no objective person would really heap blames on the government.
“We must appreciate the efforts of government at all levels so far in the fight against this virus. Particularly, the Lagos State government has been above par in this cause, and it is common knowledge.
“However, the government still needs to double its efforts, because people expect them to do more. There are some shortcomings in the handling and management of COVID-19 so far. For instance, some of those saddled with the responsibility of sharing palliatives did not perform to expectations as those palliatives did not get to the intended persons and quarters.
“The government needs proper monitoring of its projects. They should do follow-up at various intervals. Some persons are trying to profit from this pitiable situation. Some have become stupendously rich from the emergence of COVID-19. It’s not supposed to be. We need to corporate with the government to see the end of this virus.”
▪︎Mumuni preaches sacrifices, perseverance
On his part, Ambassador Abayomi Nurain Mumuni, an international security expert and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, noted that the overall significance of Eid-al-Adha is on sacrifice, charging Muslim faithful celebrating the Eid to also make sacrifices and persevere in this rare period.
According to him, “Eid-al-Adha is about sacrifice, casting our minds back to how Prophet Ibrahim and his household endured when they were in difficulties. In the first instance, he experienced delay in giving birth as he grew older without an offspring. However, he endured. Fast forward to when he was told to sacrifice Ismail after he overcame the challenge and gave birth to him. Ibrahim still persevered.
“This lesson is what we should imbibe in this rare period. The Coronavirus disease has ravaged the whole world, shattering plans and affecting livelihoods. The last Eid in 2019 that we celebrated is going to be clearly different from this in all ramifications. As of last year, nobody could envisage the situation at hand.
“Our belief as Muslims is that this is the will of Allah, and we just need to sacrifice and persevere like Prophet Ibrahim did during his trying days.
Mumuni, the renowned author of ‘Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity’ observed that all hands must be on deck in finding lasting solutions to the Coronavirus disease, as he urged Muslims to adhere to safety protocols while celebrating.
“COVID-19 is a global challenge, and it is a period we need to come together as humans and a community to find lasting solutions to this invisible disease.
“This is also a period we need to exercise patience and restraint in going about our festivities and merriments. There are more festivals to celebrate if we live. So, let’s stick to the various health advisories issued to us”.
He particularly congratulated the Muslim world and leaders, advising them that, “This is the time to work together and think of better solutions to the problem on ground. Whether medical or prophetic method, we should strive to contribute our quota.
He continued, “Nobody should be left out in waging war against this deadly virus. We should play our parts. For instance, journalists should spread positive news and desist from sharing fake, unverified news. Many people have been misled as a result of the scourge of fake news. All hands must be on deck.”
The one-time gubernatorial candidate of the defunct CPC appealed to the well-to-do Muslims to show love to indigent Muslims in the spirit of Eid-ul-Adha.
He said, “Likewise, the rich among us should give out to the needy, extend hands of fellowship to our friends and family members. Those who are capacitated to sacrifice with rams should share with people. Allah has prescribed how it should be shared, and this must be followed to the letter”.
In his concluding remark, the terrorism and security expert counselled Muslims to stay off excessive celebrations, and take advantage of this noble period to pray.
“As we also celebrate this year’s Eid, we should avoid excesses and misdemeanors. We should not go overboard all in the name of celebrations.
“I also charge Muslims to be more prayerful at this particular period. We should pray for ourselves, families, leaders, country and the Muslim Ummah,” he said.