The President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has declared Sunday, May 24, 2020, as the first day of Shawwal 1441 after Hijrah, and as such, the Eid-el-Fitr.Abubakar, who is also the Sultan of Sokoto, said in a statement signed by the chairman advisory committee on religious affairs Sultanate Council, Sambo Wali Jinaidu, that the national moon sighting committee did not receive any report from the various moon sighting committees across the country confirming the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal 1441AH on Friday, May 22, 2020.
He, therefore, said that Saturday, May 23, 2020 is the 30th day of the month of Ramadan 1441AH. Accordingly, the Sultan urged all Muslims to continue to pray for peace, progress and development of the country, while wishing them Allah’s guidance and blessings, even as he wished them a Happy Eid-el-Fitr.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Muslims to keep their spirits up in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.
President Buhari said in his Sallah message to Muslims on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Fitr that the deadly virus, which caught the world off guard, and has put a damper on what would otherwise have been ”a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period”.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Nigeria President said in a statement in Abuja on Saturday that “for the first time in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.
”This year’s fasting period was particularly challenging for Muslims because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship, including the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an as well as traveling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.
“It is not easy to give up many of these important duties and activities, but it became imperative to do so in order to control or limit the spread of this deadly disease,” the statement said.
The Nigerian leader commended the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines.
He appealed to Nigerians “whose businesses and means of livelihoods were badly affected by the prolonged lockdown measures for their understanding and cooperation”.
He assured Nigerians that the lockdown measures would not go on longer than necessary because they would be reviewed from time to time to ease the increasing hardships on the people.
The President told the Muslim faithful that “this year’s Eid event is an occasion for sober reflection rather than celebration because of the long shadows of gloom that the coronavirus has cast on people’s lives.”
He also announced that political leaders, government officials are barred from paying homage during the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.
According to him, the directive is in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
“The President, who has traditionally shared the joyous moment with top government officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and children, will not be receiving these homages in a bid to stop the coronavirus from further spreading,” the statement said.
The statement noted that the President will be conducting his Eid prayers at home with his family.