The Sultan of Sokoto and president-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has announced the commencement of the Holy month of Ramadan fast.

According to the religious leader, the moon has been sighted in different locations in Nigeria and was confirmed by different committees both in the states and at the national level, signifying the commencement of the Ramadan fasting this Friday.

He admonished Muslims to adhere to the social distancing announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) while observing their worship (Ibada) to God.

According to the Sultan, the Muslims should used the Holy month of Ramadan to rededicate themselves and live peacefully with one another irrespective of tribal, political and religious differences.

He also appealed to wealthy individuals to help the downtrodden in the society.

Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has urged Muslims to pray against the scourge of Coronavirus and also remember health workers and care givers in their duplication to God in the holy month of Ramadan.

In a statement he personally signed, Lawan heartily felicitate with Nigerian Muslims on the commencement of the Holy month of Ramadan.

“Observance of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is a special period for seeking the face of Allah through fasting and prayers.

“This year’s Ramadan comes at a most unusual time when mankind is contending with an existential threat in the form of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down the economy and entire social life throughout the world,” the Senate president said.

According to him, “As part of the measures to combat the pandemic, governments across the globe have directed people to keep social distance and avoid large gatherings, including congregation for lectures or prayers which are some of the dominant features of the holy month of Ramadan. This also affects the “I’tikaf”, the usual seclusion in the mosques during this period, which we have been advised to instead observe in our homes.

“These are part of the sacrifices we have all been called to make, so that we can prevail against the ruthless invisible enemy called COVID-19.

“Therefore, as we enter the holy month, I urge the Muslim community and Nigerians in general to maintain full compliance with the directives given us by the relevant government and religious authorities in the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Lawan said these unusual circumstances of the holy month this year offer a golden opportunity to more solemnly seek the face of Allah, the Most Merciful.

“We should therefore seize the opportunity to pray for the protection of our country and mankind in general against this plague and for a quick return to normal life.

“I also urge us to remember in our prayers our health workers and other care givers who are at the front line of the fight against COVID-19. We should also pray for divine guidance for our leaders to always take the right decisions and do the right things especially in this trying time for the comfort and well-being of the people.

“It is an important duty of the faithful during the Ramadan to show compassion for the less-privileged whose conditions have even been made worse this time by the economic and social disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

“As we embark on the spiritual journey in this Holy month of Ramadan, it is essential that we always keep to the directives on restriction of movement, social distancing, regular washing of hands and personal hygiene which are all necessary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“I wish us all Happy Ramadan. May Allah accept our sacrifice of self-denials and answer our supplications and prayers,” the Senate president added.

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