Eid-el-fitr: Keep hope alive despite COVID-19, clerics, political leaders tell Muslims

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2020 Eid For Sober Reflection Not For Celebration - Buhari
• Political Leaders Must Adhere Strictly To Rule Of Law – Alatoye
• Pandemic Has Humbled All Faithful Before Our Creator - Musa
• Covid-19 Pandemic A Test From Allah – Atiku Abubakar
• Lawan Calls For Fervent Prayers, Supplication For Divine Intervention
• Eid-el-Fitri: APC Urges Nigerians To Imbibe Ramadan Lessons

The need to close ranks and work towards defeating the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives, formed the kernel of goodwill messages as the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria joined their counterparts the world over to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-fitr.

Both clerics and political leaders, who were united in their submissions that this year’s Eid is an occasion for sober reflection, rather than celebration because of the long shadows of gloom that the Coronavirus has cast on peoples’ lives, urged them to make supplications for themselves and the country, as well as respect the Federal Government’s restriction on congregational worship since respect to the constituted authority in respect to the Creator.

Clerics specifically tasked political leaders and those in positions of authority to adhere strictly to the rule of law, and to maintain justice, noting that there can be no peace in the absence of justice, even as they stress that public office holders should harness the country’s God-given resources to develop the country, rather than concentrating on selfish interests.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in his Sallah message, urged Muslims to keep their spirits up despite the pandemic, “which caught the world off guard, and has put a dampener on what would otherwise have been a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period.”

Despite COVID-19 and social distancing, Lagosians trooped to markets for items to celebrate Eid- el-Fitr as captured at Oshodi…yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI


Buhari, who noted in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu 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,” added that “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 travelling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.”

The President, who noted that “it is not easy to give up many of these important duties and activities, but it became imperative to do so to control or limit the spread of this deadly disease,” stressed, “let me use this opportunity to commend the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines. I am well aware of the inconveniences these tough measures have brought on the lives of Nigerians, including limiting religious activities and gatherings in large numbers.”

He appealed to other Nigerians “whose businesses and means of livelihoods were badly affected by the prolonged lockdown measures for their understanding and cooperation,” adding that “no government would intentionally impose these tough and demanding measures on its citizens if it had a choice.”

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.

While informing Muslim faithful that “this year’s Eid event is an occasion for sober reflection, rather than celebration,” he also exhorted the wealthy to continue helping the less privileged “so that we can all come out of this pandemic stronger and more united.”

THE Amir of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria, Alhaji Folorunso Azeez Alatoye, in his message, called on political leaders and those in positions of authority to adhere strictly to the rule of law and to maintain justice, noting that there can be no peace in the absence of justice.

Alatoye, added that public office holders should spare no expense in harnessing the country’s God-given resources to develop the country, rather than concentrating on selfish interests, adding that, “as citizens, we also owe it a duty to support the government by being lawful citizens, and doing all those things that are required of us to develop the country, as the government alone cannot achieve this goal.

“As Muslims, we are expected to be our brothers’ keeper. We should rededicate our lives to the service of Allah and humanity. It is against the noble teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) for Muslims to be engaged in rebellion, religious intolerance, corruption in all of its ramifications, and arrogant behaviours,” he said.

“To create the right environment for the acceptance of our prayers, we should live pure lives, devoid of sinful acts, hatred, disobedience, nepotism, corruption and other vices – most of which were avoided during the Ramadan. Going back to these acts is a vitiation of our sacrifices during the Holy month of Ramadan.

“We should see our disposition to unrighteousness during the last one month as a template to go through the next 11 months before the next Ramadan.”

THE Chief Missioner of NasruLahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT), Imam Morufu Onike Abdul-Azeez, advised Muslims to keep the gains of the fasting and ensure that they abide by government and health workers’ directives on COVID-19.

He encouraged them to continue to make use of hand sanitiser, facemask, disposable/washable hand gloves, as a matter of priority. According to him, despite the relaxation of lockdown; “we should all know that since the battle is yet to be fully won, it is our responsibility to remain prayerful, health-conscious and go about our daily businesses without contravening laws and orders.”

Onike, who said that the month of Ramadan was a period of spiritual overhauling, added that it would, therefore, be foolhardy for the faithful to go back to those things that they renounced during fastings, such as bickering, envy, backbiting, lying, unguarded attachment to worldly activities and lack of concern for families, among others.

THE Chief Imam of Lagos, Sulaimon Oluwatoyin Abu-Nolla, who described the 2020 Eid celebration as an unusual one coming at a time when the world is battling a global pandemic, enjoined Muslims to carry out their Eid prayer at home as this exceptional circumstance demands and has been advised by Muslim scholars over the world.

THE Chief Imam of the University of Lagos and Acting Head, Department of Religious Studies, University of Lagos, Dr. Ismail Musa congratulated Muslim faithful for keeping faith in Allah and following the instruction of Prophet Muhammad, who commanded isolation and social distancing during the period of the pandemic.

He acknowledged that COVID-19 has humbled all faithful before the Creator and urged them to continue to humble themselves before Him, during periods of ease and adversity.

While thanking Allah for His love and care, the Muslim scholar said adherents were able to observe this year’s Ramadan under a palpable atmosphere of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the “socio-economic distress of the lockdown, especially the inability to feed properly did not give many vulnerable groups the confidence that they would be able to withstand the peculiar demands of fasting for a whole month. We were also unsure that individual worship would be hitch-free amidst the pandemic. Many Muslims would not wish to miss the Ramadan for anything because the reward of conscientious fasting within the month is paradise. Moreover, worshipping Allah in the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr) attracts the reward of 83 years. No Muslim would want to miss any of these. Therefore, our gratitude goes to Allah.”

ON his part, the Chief Imam of Anu Oluwapo, Orile, Oshodi, Lagos, Ustaz Taofeek Yusuf Eniafe urged Muslims to continue to obey government’s order on lockdown, as well as safety guidelines on COVID-19.

“I urge every Muslim to adhere to what government is saying on congregational gatherings, and that it is not healthy for us to meet as we have been meeting before. Let us observe our prayers at home with our family members and when this pandemic is over, we can come together again and observe our normal congregational worship. After all, we’ve been praying at home with our family members, did Allah not answer us?

THE Chairman, UNILAG Muslim Community (UMC), Prof Lai Olurode, who urged Muslims to remember that not all who commenced the fast saw it to the end, adding that the lessons of the period should endure in the minds of all Muslims.

Olurode enjoined Muslims to continue to seek forgiveness of sins, remain thankful to Allah, be satisfied with little favours from Allah, while asking for more, feed the poor, and give of their wealth to near and far relatives. Also, Muslims must sincerely relate to government property in their care and discharge the duties of their offices honestly, as these are trusts (amana) on which they would render accounts.

The Muslim faithful, according to him, must continue in their support for governments at all levels in combating community spread of COVID-19.

THE All Progressives Congress (APC), which congratulated Muslims on the successful completion of the 2020 Ramadan fasting and the celebration of Eid-el-Fitri, called on Nigerians to keep supporting the government in its determined quest to make our great country secure, peaceful and prosperous.

It noted: “As we complete this important religious obligation, we join the Nigerian Muslim community in beseeching Allah to accede to all their prayers and accept their fasting as an act of worship. It is our hope that the important lessons of Ramadan, including personal sacrifice, charity, sobriety and self-discipline would not cease to be part of our ways of life in the months and years ahead.

According to the party: “At this critical period of our nation’s history, these noble virtues should continue to guide our daily activities, as we strive to fulfil our duties as good citizens of this great country and stay safe amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Welfare Of Citizens Paramount In Planning Post-COVID-19 Era - Atiku
FORMER Vice President and Wazirin Adamawa Atiku Abubakar in his Eid-el-fitr message said: “We fasted this year without spiritual acts of worship that accompany the holy month of Ramadan, like attending tafsir (evening sermons before breaking of fast), sharing of iftar with family, friends and the needy, and even the voluntary seclusion during the last 10 days of the blessed Ramadan.

“But all these strictures could not have made our fasting less valid because, as Muslims, we believe that everything that happens is with the command of Almighty Allah. We are taught in the scripture and the Sunnah of Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that God would test our faith individually and as an Ummah.

Insisting that the “current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is a test from Allah and, having fasted as we are enjoined as Muslims, let us continue to remember that it is part of our faith to protect all lives and to abide by regulations from those in authority, especially during a time of great uncertainty like this. Those protocols about avoidance of crowded places, social distancing, and regular washing of hands are for our benefits and the benefits of humankind in general.

“As Muslims, it is incumbent upon us to do our best both in action and in prayers to ensure that the world is healed of this deadly virus in the earliest possible time. It is also incumbent on governments at all levels, that in planning for the post-COVID-19 era, the welfare of the people should be of paramount priority,” Atiku said.

PRESIDENT of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on his part, called for fervent and sustained prayer to God for his divine intervention against all the challenges that are confronting the country and the world at large.

In his Eid-el-Fitr message to Nigerians, he said: “Even as the holy month has ended, I enjoin us to continue to observe the health precautions and sustain the acts of purity, charity, perseverance, and tolerance in our daily lives and general conduct.”

Lawan specially commended all healthcare and other essential services providers who are at the front line of the fight against COVID-19, assuring them of the full support of their lawmakers, and representatives for victory against the vicious enemy.

THE Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his message, urged Nigerian Muslims to imbibe virtues such as feeding the needy, being their brother’s keepers, and prayers for peaceful coexistence that usually come with the month of Ramadan.

“Unfortunately, this year’s Eid-el-Fitr will be celebrated low-key, not for our own making, but that is how our Creator wills it. That is why we all must return to Him in prayers to bring an end to this COVID-19 pandemic.

LAGOS State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who congratulated Muslims in the state on the successful completion of Ramadan fast, urged them to continue on the path of spirituality and peaceful co-existence among all Lagosians.
 
Sanwo-Olu, in a statement, said the occasion of Eid-el-Fitri is very significant to Muslims across the world, as it marks the end of one month of abstinence from worldly pleasures with fasting and prayers, observed in accordance with the Islamic injunctions.
   
The Governor reminded the Muslim faithful of the new reality caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, saying it has altered the way we live, work and celebrate. 

GOVERNOR Seyi Makinde of Oyo State while congratulating Muslims, expressed gratitude to Muslims and residents of the state for remaining steadfast despite the situation imposed on the state by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Governor Makinde as saying that it was regrettable that Muslims in the state and across the country cannot observe Eid-el-Fitri prayer this year the usual way, adding that the situation should be seen as “part of the sacrifice we all have to make at this time.”

The governor equally rallied them to use the auspicious occasion of the Eid-el-Fitri to make supplications for themselves, the state, and Nigeria.

GOVERNOR Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, in a message signed by his Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser, Oguwuke Nwachuku, yesterday, commended Muslims for “their resilience, dedication, patience and self-sacrifice in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world,” urging them to depend solely on God in all situations.”

While advising Muslims to remain committed, the Imo governor appealed for steadfastness in prayers, for a united, peaceful and prosperous nation.

THE Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in his Eid-el-Fitri message, in Ado-Ekiti, congratulated the Muslim faithful on the completion of the 30-day fast, stressing that the spiritual exercise had drawn them closer to Allah.

Fayemi who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum admonished Muslims to put the teachings of the holy month to good use in all undertakings.

He urged Muslims and adherents of other religions to live in love, peace, and harmony with one another as brothers and sisters.

GOVERNOR Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, yesterday, reminded Muslim faithful to abide strictly to all safety measures and preventive protocols while observing Eid-el-Fitr congregation prayers.

Ganduje, one of the few northern governors to unseal places of worship for the Eid-el-Fitr prayers, despite the Sultan of Sokoto and leader of Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, directing Muslims to observe prayers at home to prevent community transmission of COVID-19, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, reiterated the need for all Muslims worshipping at grounds to make sure that they obey all protocols provided by health workers. 

The Governor urged residents to use the occasion to pray for the state and the country in general, seeking Allah’s divine help, while keeping to medical advise provided by health experts. 

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has urged Nigerians to keep the faith and rededicate themselves to finding solution to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The governor in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin in Abeokuta, yesterday, also urged Nigerians to live in peace with one another, even as the dreaded virus continues to wreak havoc across the world.

Governor Abiodun also advised Nigerians to avoid making reckless claims and non-compliance that could aggravate the pandemic.

He urges Muslim faithful to fervently pray for divine intervention and scrupulously respect all measures that would help flatten the curve of the deadly virus.

GOMBE State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, in his goodwill message urged the Ummah to sustain the lessons of the holy month and replicate them in their daily lives for the good of the society.

“Eid el-fitr festival connotes sacrifice, selflessness, love and obedience to the tenets of Islam. I therefore enjoin us to draw enduring lessons from the Ramadan and show love to one another, as well as promote harmony and peaceful coexistence among our diverse people. 

“The same way we all remembered the less privileged and those afflicted by poverty and disease during Ramadan, I implore us to carry over these attributes beyond Ramadan.” 

While urging the traditional rulers, religious and community leaders to sustain the prevailing peace and security for the socio-economic development of the state, he assured that his administration remains committed to the provision and implementation of viable projects and programmes aimed at taking the state to the next level of prosperity and development. 

GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has enjoined Muslims and indeed all Nigerians to remain resolute in their abiding faith in God, through prayers and sacrifice, as the nation battles to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Ugwuanyi, who congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and other Muslim faithful on the successful completion of Ramadan, added that the religious exercise will go a long way in the nation’s collective efforts to winning the war against COVID-19, as well as sustain the peace, unity and progress of the country. 

While wishing all Muslims a pleasant celebration, the governor urged Nigerians to stay safe, remain steadfast in prayers and continue to love and cherish one another. 

“This is an unusual time, not only for us as a people but for the entire humanity and the world. I therefore urge that we remain committed to the core values that strengthen the bond that brought us together as a prosperous nation, as we fight back in solidarity and in determined effort to contain this COVID-19 pandemic”, Gov. Ugwuanyi said.
 
SENATOR representing Kano Central, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has reminded faithful of the need to remain resolute in spiritual devotion against the global health pandemic even after the end of the 30 days fasting month of Ramadan.

Shekarau in his message said: “This year’s celebration came at a unique time that most Muslims may not enjoy the festivities due to the presence of Coronavirus worldwide. This is part of the sacrifice we must make to help various governments fight the pandemic, which has crippled both social and economic activities worldwide.”

The former Kano State governor urged Muslims not to relent in prayers for the Almighty to bring to an end to the scourge soon, just as he expressed optimism that the various policies and strategies put in place by the authorities will yield dividends.

Source:

https://guardian.ng/news/eid-el-fitr-keep-hope-alive-despite-covid-19-clerics-political-leaders-tell-muslims/

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