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Eid-el-Kabir: Muslim leaders urge faithful to pray for Nigeria, eradication Of COVID-19

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Although, some states have relaxed the lockdown and restriction of religious gatherings occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic, others have not. So, as Muslims in Nigeria join other faithful globally to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir on July 24, they have been advised to celebrate the occasion with caution and observe all the necessary COVID-19 protocols. CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.

‘Observe All Protocols And Guard Yourself Against Pandemic’
(Dr. Bashir Aliyu Umar, Islamic scholar and teacher)

ON this occasion of Idul-Adha the second eid, I would like to felicitate with my Muslim brothers and sisters and also urge them to use the occasion to pray for Nigeria more than ever. This is so that we may have relief from this pandemic globally. And though we have some relaxation from the intensity of the lockdown, I also urge Muslims to pay attention to all protocols of guarding ourselves against this pandemic.

I urge the government to continue doing its best to provide medical services and palliatives, especially for the downtrodden. The fact that up till now, many communities have not been able to achieve any means of livelihood, even though we have seen laudable interventions by government to cushion the negative economic impact of the pandemic, is something that should be addressed. We hope that serious attention and resources will be directed towards online learning so that our children staying at home will not be idle. Resources should also be channelled to develop online learning so that students at all levels are able to continue their education, as other countries are doing. We support the government in its endeavour to protect the society and Nigerians from the harmful effect of the pandemic and to also bring relief to the suffering masses, caused by the pandemic.

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It is very important that faithful wear masks during this period, and gatherings should not be prolonged. Fortunately, the eid prayer is usually not observed in confined spaces, which makes it less serious. So, the duration should be as short as possible, as it was done during the Eid-el-fitr. We need to observe it because the lockdown is still being enforced and festivities have been restricted. We don’t really need festivities. What we need is the act of worship and devotion to Allah, to beseech Him for relief from our grave situation. Muslim faithful can do their celebration at home, but some states have allowed people to hold prayers, as they normally do. And even the Sultan of Sokoto has advised the faithful on proper wearing of masks, social distancing and how to observe prayers in the shortest time possible. All these are to be observed during the event. So, how the event is celebrated depends a lot on the states. Some states have relaxed restriction on the social gathering, but they are enforcing the protocols of social distancing, hygiene and wearing of masks.

‘Use Period To Spread Love, Share Bounties Of Allah With Neighbours’
(Dr. Ismail Musa, Chief Imam, University of Lagos)

I TAKE this opportunity to remind Muslims that the Idul-Adha is observed for a period of three days (10th, 11th and 12th of the Month of Dhul-Hijjah corresponding July 31, August 1 and 2, 2020). Aside consumption of special delicacies, appearing in the best of attires and generally being in a festive mood, Muslims are reminded that Idul-Adha is a period of glorifying Allah and praising Him. It is also a period of spreading love, goodwill and sharing the bounties of Allah with the needy, neighbours and friends.

Considering the peculiarities of this COVID-19 period, we must abide by the safety-first principle. Allah Himself makes our security and safety a top priority. The divine scheme ensures that “for each (person), there are angels stationed before and behind him. They guard and protect him by the Command of Allah”  (Quran 13:11). If Allah has made our safety a priority, we should use this divine model by also making our safety a priority. First, we should continue to maintain physical distancing. Second, observing the I’d prayer at home remains the best option for now. Third, we should utilise the occasion, especially the day of Arafah (July 30, 2020), to supplicate to Allah for prompt victory over COVID-19.

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Government should use the mass media to constantly remind the populace about COVID-19 protocols and the need to celebrate responsibly. I wish you all a joyous and rewarding ‘I’dul-Adha. May Allah grant us all the material and spiritual resources with which to serve Him and better a lot of mankind.

‘’Id Prayer Needs Not Be At ‘Id Prayer Ground Due To COVID-19 Protocol’
(Prof. Dawud Noibi, former Executive Secretary, Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN)

AS the Muslim world looks forward to the forthcoming ‘Id al-Ad-haa, it is necessary to provide some useful information about what needs to be borne in mind or done ahead of the festival.

The spiritual importance of the first 10 days of the current lunar month of Dhu l-Hijjah, which commenced on Wednesday, July 22, should not be lost on us. According to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it is a period when deeds of righteousness are most beloved to Allah and most richly rewarded by Him. So, Muslims are urged to take advantage of the period and engage in acts of worship to the best of their ability.

The recommended acts of worship include optional daily fasting for the first nine days, as a means of gaining closeness to Allah. The 10th day is excluded from the fasting period, as it is the day of the festival and feasting. Fasting on a ninth day in particular, which falls on Thursday, July 30, is highly recommended, as it guarantees forgiveness of past year’s sins, as well as those of the coming year in advance. However, this does not mean the granting of freedom to indulge in sinful acts over the period of the coming year. While assuring the repentant believer of forgiveness, Allah warns against indulgence in sinful acts, simply because of such assurance (Qur’an 3:135). And it is well known to those familiar with the Qur’an that, invariably, whenever Allah guarantees forgiveness, it comes with His Mercy.

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Besides, other acts of worship recommended for the period include recitation of the Qur’an, the direct and protected Speech of Allah revealed for the guidance of the faithful, and the conscientious study of the book. Another is observing more of optional formal prayers (Salat) besides engaging even more conscientiously in the observance of the obligatory five daily prayers. The regular chanting of the words of glorification, praise and exaltation of Allah and the declaration of His Oneness is also highly recommended during this period.

Chanting of some of these words of praise continues to be done at the end each of the five obligatory prayers of the day. This commences from the dawn prayer on Arafah day, Thursday, July 30, and ends with the third prayer on the fourth day of the festival, which is Monday, August 3.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) assured the faithful that optional acts of worship attract the love of Allah. Indeed, Allah assures believers that when they remember Him, He remembers them with His Mercy and His Grace in return. Those acts of worship with the huge corresponding divine rewards they attract show how significant these first 10 days of the Dhu l-Hijjah lunar month really are to the faithful. So, it is hoped that Muslims will not let those immense blessings pass them by, as they look forward to the ‘Id day itself.

The activities of the ‘Id day are equally important. The event comes up on the day following the descent of pilgrims from the plane of Arafah; that is on Friday, July 31. As usual with festival days, the faithful are required to cleanse themselves, put on their best clothing and proceed for the ‘Id prayer, which needs not be at the ‘Id prayer ground in view of the COVID-19 protocol. Even when they perform the prayer at the Central Mosques, the rules of personal hygiene, proper use of masks and physical distancing must be observed, as a means of preventing the spread of the virus. Relevant Islamic teachings require that the faithful adhere strictly to the protocol put in place by government and its agencies, as advised by experts. Allah warns believers not to put themselves at risk of destruction and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gave specific and strict instructions towards the avoidance of the spread of deceases.

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‘There’s No Better Time Than Now For Muslims To Put Into Use God’s Injunctions’
(Imam Abdul-Azeez Morufu Onike, Chief Missioner of Nasru-Lahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT)

AGAINST the background of the reality that this year’s Eid ul Kabir celebration shall be done at a time the world is still engulfed in an unprecedented pandemic (COVID-19), I urge Muslims and the entire global citizens to remain prayerful to God against the deadly disease, and equally obey and observe all protocols released by government and health authorities to stem the tide of the pandemic.

As we celebrate this year’s Eid-ul Kabir, there is no better time for us to put into use the injunctions of God on obedience to Him and submission to parental wish, which was practically demonstrated by Prophet Ismail (Peace be upon him). This, we can do by abiding by all the health protocols on COVID-19.

The aim of the festival is to inculcate in Muslims the culture of piety and self-righteousness, as well as encourage the spirit of self-sacrifice, submission to God and withstanding the trials of Allah. Muslims and all Nigerians are enjoined to remain cautious and avoid the temptation of feeling that the worst is over, considering the prediction issued by states like Lagos on July 23 that the peak of COVID-19 pandemic would be in August. We pray that Allah performs His wonders.

We cannot fail to mention parts of the efforts made by NASFAT to ensure that the health of its teeming members is not compromised in the name of purchasing rams in the market and flouting the physical distancing rules. Therefore, as we approach this year’s Eid-ul Kabir, NASFAT as part of its HELD agenda (Health, Education, Livelihood and Da’wah) started an initiative, tagged, “Let NASFAT handle your Qurbani (Ram Slaughtering) for you.” We asked interested Muslims, members and non-members all over the world to subscribe to the programme and transfer the burden of ram purchasing, slaughtering, skinning, packaging and either giving parts or whole to the needy on their behalf, or have either the live rams delivered to their houses, as the case may be. Glory be to Allah, the responses have been very encouraging to the extent that some of the schemes have been sold out. We advise Muslims to stay at home, offer the eid prayer with their families and celebrate in the comfort of their abodes while praying to Allah to lift the pandemic from the surface of the earth soonest.

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