Cable News reports that Sa’ad Abubakar, sultan of Sokoto, has asked Muslims to avoid large gatherings during Eid-el-fitr prayers.
The Eid-el-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, is expected to take place at the weekend.
In a statement on Wednesday, Salisu Shehu, deputy secretary-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), said the sultan asked all Muslims to take necessary safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Sultan, who is the president-general of NSCIA, said the prayers could be held at home.
“As the month of Ramadan is gradually coming to an end and the Eid-el-fitr is approaching, it is crucial to reiterate that we are living in unusual times when almost everything normal has become abnormal, including social gatherings and large congregational prayers,” the sultan said.
“Therefore, Muslims are enjoined to note that Eid-el-fitr is not a compulsory religious activity (fard) and at no point should it be observed if doing so will undermine the fundamental purpose of Shari’ah: security, a multifaceted concept which includes personal, community, national, environmental and health components, among others.
“Muslims should observe their Eid prayers while still taking necessary safety measures regarding personal hygiene, facial masks and social distancing.
“It is even advisable that in such places, massive gatherings at one Eid ground in a big city should be avoided. Rather the Eid could be performed in area-Mosques to avoid unmanageable crowds.
“However, in places where the ban on large congregational prayers and socio-religious gatherings is still in force, Muslims are directed to be law-abiding while appreciating that intentions supersede actions and actions are judged on the basis of intentions, as Prophet Muhammad said (Buhari and Muslim).
“Muslims are advised to be law-abiding in all circumstances while praying to Allah fervently in their various homes, if that is what the situation requires, to forgive our sins and heal the world from destructive and disruptive diseases like Coronavirus.”