The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has urged Muslims to comply with government’s ban on religious gatherings.
The Council says the measures taken to check the spread of Coronavirus will affect congregational prayers but Muslims must comply.
The NSCIA in a statement signed by Salisu Shehu, its deputy secretary-general, said adhering to public health directives is in line with one of the injunctions of Allah.
The council noted that it has become obligatory for all segments of the country, including religious and traditional bodies, to cooperate with the government and appropriate agencies to combat this disease, prevent further transmission, and control the virus.
NSCIA noted that it is important for everyone to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. Such precautions include frequent handwashing with soap, limiting physical contact by giving verbal salutations instead of shaking hands and hugging, observing proper hygiene when coughing or sneezing, etc. Imams, preachers, and organizations should sensitize their members about these precautionary steps.
“It should be noted that these measures are all almost exactly similar to the ones that were taken when such kind of pandemic took place during the reign of Caliph Umar (r.a.) in the 18th year after Hijra which caused the death of several companions of the Prophet (s.a.w). That was ta’uun amwaas (the Amwaas epidemic), It is important for all parties to cooperate with appropriate agencies working to limit the spread of the disease and to eradicate it,” the statement read.
It strongly advised all segments of the society, including religious bodies to adhere strictly to all public health directives and regulations provided by the competent authorized agencies such as Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) – available on www.ncdc.gov.ng – and the Federal and State Ministries of Health regarding COVID-19.
“This is in line with the Qura’nic injunction, ‘O You who believe, obey Allah and the Messenger, and those in authority among you’ (Qur’an 4:59). It is also in line with the injunction of Allah in Chapter 16, verse 43 that says: ‘…..So ask those who possess knowledge if you do not know,’.
“It is very likely that governments and appropriate agencies would start putting social distancing measures in place very soon, depending on the severity of the situation. This could mean that major public gatherings are closed. This will inevitably have a significant impact on the Muslim community, specifically our mosques, schools, study groups, madrasas and Islamic centres, especially with Ramadan just a few weeks away, and we fervently pray to Allah in His Glorious Names and Attributes not to allow the pandemic to last that long. In the event of such restrictions, we emphatically urge all Muslims to comply fully with such measures that are in the public interest of all,.” The Council stated further.
Should it become necessary to suspend congregational prayers in the mosques, the council said Muslims can pray inside their houses.
The Council called on business owners and traders to fear Allah and avoid hoarding essential products, creating artificial scarcity or unnecessary inflation of prices.
Similarly, it also advised the populace to be considerate in their purchases and avoid reckless and extravagant purchases that prevent others from accessing essential commodities.
The council urged Islamic centres to strongly discourage members from attending any mosque activities even if they are only experiencing mild symptoms.
Source: Voice of Nigeria