Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs has announced that Ramadan will start on Friday, April 24.
The NSCIA President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, announced this on Thursday.
He confirmed that the new moon was sighted on Thursday, meaning that Ramadan will start on Friday in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan also starts on Friday in Saudi Arabia and most Arab countries.
Other Arab countries who have also announced that Ramadan will start on Friday include Kuwait, Qatar, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority.
The Gulf sultanate of Oman announced the crescent was not spotted, thus Ramadan will begin on Saturday.
During Ramadan, Muslims have to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to sunset.
Though Muslims also mark the month by performing special evening prayers, known as the taraweeh, the lockdown imposed in many countries amid the novel coronavirus pandemic would not make that possible.
Many countries, including the Sultan of Sokoto, had asked the faithful to pray in their homes.
The Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, expressed anger over the attitude of some Muslim clerics for misleading their followers over the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in the country.
The sultan, who is also the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, was particularly sad that some Muslim clerics were going against measures put in place to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 across the land.
He condemned the attitudes of the clerics, warning that the coronavirus was real and that adequate precautionary measures must be adhered to.
The leader of Izalatu Islamic sect in Plateau State, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, had in a preaching told his followers that there was nothing like the deadly coronavirus ravaging the world.
Jingir had said it was a western conspiracy to stop Muslims from performing their religious rites, noting that the virus was a lie.
The sect leader had stated this during a sermon on an Izala TV, monitored in Kaduna penultimate Tuesday.
Apart from that, two Islamic clerics were caught while conducting the Friday congregational prayers in Malali and Ungwan Kanawa areas, all in the Kaduna North Local Government of the state.
This was despite the curfew imposed on the state by the Kaduna State Government to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
The Sultan chastised the Muslim clerics, urging them to desist from misleading the Muslim community on the deadly virus.
The Sultan described the attitude of some of the Islamic clerics as unfortunate and myopic.
He noted that it was sheer ignorance for any Islamic cleric to claim there was nothing like coronavirus currently ravaging the entire world.
The Sultan, who spoke through the JNI Secretary General, Dr Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu, in a statement, also warned that the Muslim ummah (community) must never allow a repeat of what happened in Italy in Nigeria.
The statement read in part, “Jama’atu Nasril Islam under the leadership of His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, JNI, is once again saddened with the recent unfortunate developments of misleading the Muslim Ummah (Community) by some sections of ‘Ulama (preachers) over the coronavirus prevalence.
“We must as an Ummah avoid a repeat of the current trend in Italy, which was partly due to non-adherence to expert advice over the pandemic. Allah, the most wise says “…So ask those who know if you know not” Q16:43. Therefore, we should all bear in mind that knowledge is an amanah (trust) and must be safeguarded and delivered as such, thus the need for this statement.
“One may not be wrong to conclude that the action of some of the ‘Ulama clearly depicts sheer whims and caprices of their myopic worldview, stark ignorance of reality based on genuine knowledge and medical scholarship.
“It is, however, regrettable that as the negative actions of such preachers incite innocent Muslims, who are unaware of the serious health implications of adhering to such empty dispositions that invariably endanger humanity. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the issue of plague and/or pandemic is not new throughout human history, either at various times or places, the Muslim world inclusive.
“It is thus sheer monumental ignorance to falsely claim that the pandemic of the coronavirus does not exist and that it is a lie and a shadow of a ghost. Such lamentable utterances leave much to be desired by any scholar that is worth being called a scholar. Moreover, the matter is a documented fact whose medical precedents have been set in curbing its tide in human history.
“Therefore, the current position of government is not a new standpoint to curtail the spread of the infection. Rather, new methods of mitigating it and nipping it in the bud emerged in this contemporary world we live in, as a result of scholarly findings.”
The Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar has urged Imams and all Muslims to pray, fast and preach about the Coronavirus in all mosques and during five daily congregational prayers in the country.
Sultan who expressed concern over the outbreak of the disease, also told Muslims to offer special prayer and fast against the further spread of the virus in the country.
A statement signed by JNI’s Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, on behalf of the Sultan, who is also the Nigerian Muslims’ spiritual leader, further charged Muslims to observe strict adherence to personal hygiene to halt the spread of the disease.
The Sultan said all agencies charged with the responsibility of protecting the health of the citizenry, particularly the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control, to be up and doing in their responsibility.
The statement released on Wednesday in Kaduna, read in part: “Jama’atu Nasril Islam under the leadership of his Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto and President General of JNI, is worried and concerned about the spate of the deadly corona virus (Covid 19) and disturbed by the threat it poses to life.
“Apart from China, where the infection of the virus started, it spread geometrically to other countries in the world, ranging from Europe. America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Nigeria inclusive
“Each country is taking measures in curbing the plague of the pandemic of Coronavirus, by quarantining the suspiciously infected in order to avoid its spread, while the infected are being treated in special medical facilities.
“All Juma’ah and five daily congregational prayers’ Imams should mount strong advocacy and enlightenment campaign against the scourge and the epidemic nature of the coronavirus.
“They should include in their sermons and preaching the imperatives of taking serious precautionary measures of personal hygiene.
“JNI calls on all Juma’ah and five daily congregational prayer Imams to engage in special prayers during their sermons, preaching and other sessions for Allah’s quick intervention in wiping away the Coronavirus and all other diseases bedeviling humanity.
“JNI calls on the government at all levels, especially the agencies charged with the responsibility of protecting the health of the citizenry, particularly the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to do the needful in protecting the health of the citizenry.”
The unmarried and childless long reigning Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al-Said has died, Omani state media said early on Saturday.
He was aged 79.
“With sadness … the Omani Sultanate court mourns … our Sultan Qaboos bin Said … who God chose to be by his side on Friday evening,” the Omani news agency said.
Reports said the Sultan who had rarely appeared in public since 2015, died of colon cancer.
He had not publicly appointed a successor, before his death.
He began to rule the Gulf Arab state following a bloodless coup in 1970, in which he toppled his father. He was supported by Oman’s former colonial power Britain.
A 1996 statute says the ruling family will choose a successor within three days of the throne becoming vacant.
If they fail to agree, a council of military and security officials, supreme court chiefs and heads of the two assemblies will put in power the person whose name has been secretly written by the sultan in a sealed letter.
His death comes after he travelled to Belgium for a medical checkup and was said to be in a ‘stable condition’.
The court announced on December 7 that Qaboos was travelling to Belgium for ‘a limited period of time’, but did not give details on his condition.
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has accused the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, of being economical with the truth as regards the endless attacks and perceived persecution of Christians in northern Nigeria.
It insists Sultan is fully aware of the high level of attacks and unfriendly treatment being received by Christians from state and non-state powers, and unfortunately, choose to either be silent or do little about it.
CAN said it was painful reading in the media that the Sultan said that there was no case of Christian persecution in the country as alleged by CAN, that Christians are being killed on a daily basis and their landed property confiscated. “It would have been better if the Sultan had remained quiet the way he did when those killings were taking place,” CAN said.
CAN, however, justified its claims with a recent report that a Christian lady that lives around Gwoza, Borno State, was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists on her way to a wedding and summarily executed by the terrorists.
In addition to that, it said that a report it received from Borno State Christian Association of Nigeria, indicated that about ten Christians were kidnapped on their way to Maiduguri for Christmas event. The Muslims among them were released and asked to go, while eight out of ten Christians abducted were slaughtered, while two ladies were taken away, obviously to be sexually assaulted.
CAN National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel, in a statement released in Abuja, on Saturday, said it was an insult and insensitive for anyone to claim that the unprecedented persecution of Christians does not occur.
He added: “It’s also an act of disrespect to the dead. The Fulani atheists took it upon themselves to be killing Christians the way they did in Benue, Southern Kaduna, Plateau and several other places. Will it still not be called Christian persecution? Do the Fulani atheists have the right to kill people the way they did and are still doing in some part of the states?
“If those who were responsible for the genocide in the middle belt of the country were Fulani atheists whose main objective was to protect their cattle, what then stopped the Sultan from condemning the unprecedented genocide?”
CAN was, however, happy that the Sultan, in the media report, agreed that there was unprecedented killings in some states which the security agencies would have helped to unmask the culprits and their religion if they had not appeared powerless while the killings lasted.
It added: “It is reprehensible that to date, those who killed our brothers and sisters after raping and maiming them for weeks are still at large as if they were spirits. Also, two years after, Leah Sharibu has not been rescued. Is that not also religious persecution?
“Is it the atheists that are denying Christians the Certificates of Occupancy in the core northern states to build churches? Are they the ones who pulled down churches in Jigawa State few years ago? Are they the ones that disallowed Christian religion to be taught in public schools in the North? Are they the ones expelling Christian corps members from NYSC camps because they didn’t want to wear trousers according to their religious obligations while hijab is allowed?”
CAN, however, said the fact that religious leaders periodically meet at the level of Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), does not mean that all is well. “We believe that having dialogues with our Muslim counterparts can reduce the tension in the land if there is sincerity. But as long as a highly-placed traditional ruler who is also the head of the Muslim community in the country is denying the obvious, then we are not surprised if other Muslim groups could talk in the same vein,” he said.
CAN also registered its discontent with the fact that the government, to whom they had complained about the plight of their people in the hands of overzealous Muslims who claimed they were fighting Jihad was not convincing enough to show that the action was not deliberate.
It appealed to the government to let the Constitution be its guide in all its policies and operations, with a kind reminder that Nigeria belongs to Nigerians irrespective of religious and tribal persuasions, and any discriminatory policy could be described as persecution.
They asked President Buhari to be fair to all Nigerians, insisting that CAN will only stop complaining when it sees a just society where the rule of law, fairness, and social justice are allowed.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has said that the Muslim faithful in Nigeria are good people.
The traditional ruler, who is also the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, said this while addressing participants at the 34th National Qur’an Recitation Competition in Lagos.
The Christian Association of Nigeria had backed the United States report, saying Christians are being persecuted in the country but Sultan insists nothing of such exists, stressing that not all Fulani herdsmen are Muslims and they were not after the Christians as insinuated by CAN.
He said, “And I want to assure you that no Muslim would be provoked into taking up arms against anybody based on what you have been seeing in the media particularly of recent.
“These are issues we need to tackle; these are issues the various governments at all levels need to tackle by sitting down and talking to one another because making public comments don’t normally help.
“They aggravate situations. And I want to assure all, everything is right with us. The Muslims in Nigeria are very good people. We will continue to do the best. But among all good people, there are also bad people and we know there are bad people among all societies.”
The Sultan of Sokoto while speaking at the closing ceremony of 77th annual Islamic vacation course (IVC) organised by the Muslim Society of Nigeria (MSSN) at Bayero University Kano, said a recent claim by CAN on Christians being prosecuted is “false and partial”.
The Sultan said, “If such persecution really exists, such is supposed to be tabled at the Interfaith Forum where Muslims and Christians leaders meet periodically to discuss issues that would promote harmonious coexistence between the two religions. Many Fulanis are atheists whose main interest is to protect their cattle.”
Reacting to the statement of the Sultan on Thursday, Fani-Kayode wrote: “It is a lie to say Christians are being persecuted in Nigeria”-Sultan of Sokoto.
“With respect to your Majesty, you are wrong. To say that Christians are being persecuted in Nigeria is actually an understatement. They are not just being persecuted, they are being slaughtered.
Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has appealed to Nigerians across the country to give birth to only children they can cater for.
The Kano Monarch who spoke at the opening of the 108th edition of Islamic Vocation Course (IVC) organized by the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Zone B, stated that the Almajiri menace that has plagued the northern region of Nigeria is not a religious issue but a social issue that needs urgent attention.
Sanusi also implored male Muslim faithfuls to only marry the number of women they can take care of as there is need to educate every child especially the out-of-school children.
“If we continued this way, about 40 per cent extremely poor people will be in Nigeria. Poverty in the South West is 20 percent, in the North, it is 80 percent, Lagos is 8 per cent and Zamfara, it is 91 per cent.
“We have been talking about Almajiri for over 30 years. Why are people having families they cannot maintain? Why are people marrying wives that they cannot maintain? The condition is that you are able to provide for your family.
“Instead of having many children, why not have the ones you can cater for? These are the fundamental questions we should ask ourselves. Most of these children roaming about the streets will be adult in the next twenty years and they will be the ones recruited as political thugs by the politicians in the next twenty years, if we don’t take good care of them now. This is my own advice that we must look at. These are not religious issues, they are social issues that need to be addressed”.
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has dismissed claim by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, that Christians were not under any form of persecution in the country.
According to CAN, the monarch was insincere in denying the subtle Islamisation agenda and nepotism.
The Sultan had said he was shocked by the claim of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that Christians were being persecuted in the country.
CAN had backed the inclusion of Nigeria by the US in the list of nations that tolerate religious persecution.
But speaking at the closing ceremony of 77th annual Islamic vacation course (IVC) organised by the Muslim Society of Nigeria (MSSN) at Bayero University, Kano, Abubakar said CAN’s claim is “false and partial.”
He said the criminal activities perpetrated by armed “Fulani herdsmen” were not triggered by religion, “because not all Fulanis are Muslims.”
He said there were Christian Fulanis just as there were Muslims ones.
Replying, yesterday, Vice Chairman of CAN (Northern Region), Rev. John Hayab, said it was unfortunate that the monarch was not ready to face the reality on ground.
He said evidence which pointed to religious persecution as the basis for the imbalance of political and economic power in the country abound, especially in the north.
Hayab also accused the revered Muslim leader of treating the multiple petitions on religious persecution tabled before the revered Muslim leader at meetings of the Nigerian Interreligious Council, NIREC with indifference.
He said: “With all due respect, we believe the Muslim leader is living in denial on the issue of persecution of Christians in this country. “We have presented several petitions before the Sultan of Sokoto on religious persecution but what has he done? “We brought to his notice in NIREC; the issue of ban on the teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge in secondary schools in the north. What did he do?
“We also presented before him cases where Christians who want to buy land in some northern communities are compelled to sign documents stating that they would not use the property for church activities or for hotel services. What has he done about it. Even the very act of comparing church activities with hotel services is not just a form of persecution but an insult aimed at Christians.
“Is it the issue of cabinet appointments in state executive councils? There are Christians and Muslims among the Fulanis, the Hausas and other minority tribes in the North. But, how many governors can boast of cabinets that are fair and balanced in terms of religious representation? Is the Sultan not aware of the nepotism?
“Similar religious nepotism is also witnessed in the offer of state jobs, admissions into tertiary institutions, and awards of contracts. Does the Sultan of Sokoto not consider these happenings as religious persecution?
“Was he not aware that Leah Sharibu’s was not negotiated by the Federal Government on account of her refusal to renounce her Christian faith? Whereas, the same government activated all its diplomatic resources to ensure the freedom of the daughter of a prominent Muslim faithful accused of drug peddling in Saudi Arabia.”
Hayab regretted that the strides made to downplay religious bias and unite all northerners by the late Sardauna and Premier of the North, Sir Ahmadu Bello, had not been sustained by leaders who came after him. He called on the Sultan of Sokoto and other prominent religious leaders to speak the truth on issues that affect the unity of the country at all times, saying Nigeria would only get better when they do so.
Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad, has cautioned that no nation can grow politically, economically and enjoy peace and unity when its government or influential citizens chose which court order to obey based on how it favours them or their associatesc
Speaking at the 2019 last quarterly meeting of religious leaders under the umbrella of Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), the Sultan who is the co-chairman, cautioned against the devastating effects of disobedience to court pronouncement and bad precedence it will set for unborn generations.
“We must regularly obey and respect the laws our land. We should never disregard the laws to avoid the consequences. If a court makes a judicial pronouncement on a particular matter, it should be obeyed to the later. If you have any problem or disagree with the pronouncement, the next step is to appeal the pronouncement instead of disregarding or violating court judgments.
“If you are served a court order and you deliberately refused to obey it because you are a Governor, President or any influential person, then you are setting a dangerous precedence. There’s no society that will prosper through lawlessness. Citizens must be law abiding so that we can achieve the desired development.”
He appreciated the role of the religious leaders throughout the year particularly as it concerns the 2019 elections, and challenged to always ensure that outcome of the quarterly meeting of NIREC is properly put to use for the betterment of Nigeria.
In a related development, Chief Adesunbo Onitiri pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to obey the rule of law and the Constitution to avert anarchy.
He said since the DSS is the creation of the Constitution, it must operate within the ambit of the law and the Constitution, which President Buhari swore to protect.
“We the democrats of this country demand that this government must respect and obey our laws and the judiciary. The constitution clearly created a separation of powers between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.
“The DSS’s desecration and affront of our Judiciary by arresting Omoyele Sowore in the court is an abbreviation which must be rejected and condemned by all progressives and right-thinking men and women of honour.”
He noted that what the DSS did was an aberration and desecration of Nigeria’s temple of justice.
“Nigerians home and abroad must condemn this lawlessness and a big slap on Nigerians’ faces. We commend the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in its effort at defending our judiciary. We will not sit back and let our judiciary be intimidated by the executive arm of the Federal Government.”
Warning the DSS against over-running the judiciary, he said: “The judiciary is the last hope of the common man and our democracy. Anyone that wants to assault and desecrate it must be resisted by all legal means. Nigeria should not be turned into a Banana republic. It must at all times be guided and governed by rule of law. It must be vehemently condemned by all patriotic Nigerians.”