Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN), the umbrella body of Muslims in the South West region, has issued fresh warnings and guidelines to Muslims in the region on how best to observe and celebrate the forthcoming Eld-Fitri prayer and festival in line with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
It was gathered that the Eld-Fitri festival which signifies the end of the one month Ramadan fast is billed to take place on either Saturday or on Sunday.
Our correspondent recalls that Muslims in their large numbers usually trooped out to observe the two-Rakah Eld-Fitri prayer in a large congregation during the Eld-Fitri festival, but many are wondering what the situation will be due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But, MUSWEN while reacting, said that from the look of things, it was not likely that the current social distancing regulations put in place by governments in the six states in the South West region necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic would be relaxed by Eid day.
The organization insisted that with the development, it was not likely that observance of Eid prayers at the Eid Prayer grounds across the region would be possible.
MUSWEN Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Professor Muslih Tayo Yahya, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Wednesday, urged Muslims to join the rest of the Ummah in Nigeria in looking out for the crescent of Shawwal shortly before Maghrib of Friday 29th Ramadan 1441, equivalent to 22nd May 2020.
He advised them to communicate any sightings to MUSWEN on 08033579545 or 08096898432 and wait patiently for a formal announcement of the exact day of Eid by the President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
Yahya, a former Director, Academic Planning and Administration at the University of Jos, in the statement 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: Muslims in the South West should join the rest of the Ummah in Nigeria in looking out for the crescent of Shawwal shortly before Maghrib of Friday 29th Ramadan 1441, equivalent to 22nd May 2020, communicate any sighting to MUSWEN on 08033579545 or 08096898432 but wait patiently for a formal announcement of the exact day of Eid by the President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
Allah says: “And hold fast to the rope of Allah, all of you together, and be not disunited….” (Qur’an 3:103)
“From the look of things, it is not likely that the current social distancing regulations put in place by governments in the States in the South West of Nigeria, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic would be relaxed by Eid day, consequently it is not likely that observance of Eid prayers at the Eid Prayer grounds would be possible.
“However all Muslims are urged to put on their best dresses on the Eid day as recommended by authentic traditions of the Prophet (SAW), but STAY SAFELY AT HOME marking the Eid day with the family, in view of the movement restrictions necessitated by the pandemic. On the eve of the Eid day or after the Fajir prayer of the Eid Day and shortly before the usual time for the Eid Prayer, Zakat el-Fitri is expected to be given out to the poor on behalf of EVERY member of the family, from infant to the oldest person, male or female.
“The measure of Zakat el-Fitr per person is four measures of the “mudun-Nabiy” (the Prophetic measure) which has been approximated to about 14 usual milk-tins known in most markets of South West Nigeria, in grains popular for food in the area such as rice, beans, maize and millet or other staple food item such as gari. Rice and gari however seem to have a great deal of acceptance in South West Nigeria.
“Similarly, although food items as mentioned above are preferable, some scholars have no objection to monetization, if one calculates the monetary value of the measures of the various items mentioned above. For example, from the current market value of Rice, in most markets the sum of about N700 (seven hundred Naira only) is calculated as the monetary equivalent to be given out for Zakat el-Fitri per person in the South West of Nigeria this year.
“After giving out the Zakat el-Fitr, it is not forbidden for an individual or the family to observe at home the two-Rak’ah Nafl (supererogatory) Eid prayer in the following manner, excluding only the Khutbah (sermon): For the first Rak’ah, begin with Takbirat al-Ihram, i.e. the initial pronouncement of Allahu akbar, follow by a repetition of same takbir six times, to make seven in all. Recite Surat al-Fatihah (Chapter 1 of the Qur’an) followed preferably with Surat al-A’laa (Chapter 87 of the Qur’an), or any other Surah which the worshipper can conveniently recite. Proceed to ruku’u and follow normal process of the raka’ah up to the second sujuud (prostration).
“For the second Rak’ah, rise from the second prostration of the first raka’ah with Takbir Allahu akbar till fully standing, then repeat the takbir five more times to make six in all. Recite Surah al-Fatiha, followed preferably with Surah al-Ghashiyah or any other Surah that the worshipper can recite conveniently. Proceed to ruku’u and follow normal process of the raka’ah up to the second prostration. Rise from prostration to the sitting position and recite the at-Tashshud, then the taslim (Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah…) marking the end of the prayer. We ask Allah to preserve us to witness many more months of Ramadan in better conditions”.