THE Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar on Thursday announced the sighting of the moon.
The announcement signifies the commencement of Ramadan.
Alhaji Abubakar said the announcement was based on the reliable reports on moon sighting received from Muslim leaders and organisations.
In a live broadcast on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), the Sultan said: “In accordance with the Islamic law, today Thursday, April 23 marks the end of Sha’ban. Based on the reliable reports on moon sighting that were received from Muslim leaders and organisations across the country which were duly verified and authenticated by us, the states and the National Moon Sighting Committee, Friday, April 24 becomes the first day of Ramadan 1441A.H.
“We, therefore, call on all Muslim brothers and sisters to commence fasting accordingly.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has enjoined all Muslims to refrain from practices that encourage grouping and congregating as they observe this year’s Ramadan.
The President, in his Ramadan message, wished the Muslims well as they began this year’s 29/30-day fast.
“I congratulate all Muslims as they commence this year’s Ramadan fast which is depicted by self-denial, universal brotherhood, austerity and helping relatives and needy people,” the President said in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
President Buhari described Ramadan 2020 as a challenge, falling as it is in the period of a global pandemic, which had spread to more than 200 nations, with virtually all countries advising citizens to avoid large gatherings and have their prayers and meals (suhoor and iftar) individually or with family at home.
“In this Ramadan period, the kind of socializing you are used to now risks spreading the Coronavirus,” the President cautioned Muslims, while enjoining them to refrain from those Ramadan rituals and traditions such as group meals and congregational prayers that had been put on hold by Muslim religious authorities all over the world.
President Buhari urged Muslims to endure and not to use the Coronavirus as an excuse not to participate in the Ramadan fast, unless such abstention was warranted by the excuses clearly outlined by health and religious authorities.
He wished Muslims in the country and the world over all the blessings of the holy month.
Nigeria will be joining Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, and most Arab countries to commence fasting today.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court said the new moon was sighted yesterday, confirming that Ramadan will start on Friday, the official SPA news agency reported.
The beginning and end of Islamic months are determined by the sighting of the new moon.
Most Arab countries have also announced that the holy month will start on Friday, including Kuwait, Qatar, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority.