Nigerian Muslims on Friday, April 1, began the annual 30-day Ramadan fast, one of the five pillars of Islam. This followed an announcement by the Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, that the moon had been sighted Thursday night. Friday, therefore, would be the first day of Ramadan 1443AH
The beginning and end of Islamic months are determined by the sighting of the new moon. During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to sunset. They usually celebrate by large social and religious gatherings, such as special evening prayers, where mosques are traditionally packed.
Sultan Abubakar, in a nationwide broadcast Friday night in his palace in Sokoto, said the decision to order the beginning of the Ramadan fast was based on reliable reports from sources, including Muslim leaders and organisations across the country. He said, “In accordance with the Islamic law, today, Thursday, March 31st 2022 marks the end of Sha’aban. Based on the reliable reports on moon sighting that were received from Muslim leaders across the country which were duly verified and authenticated by us, states and the national moon sighting committee, tomorrow, Friday, April 1st, 2022 becomes the first day of Ramadan 1443AH. Therefore, I call on all Muslim brothers and sisters to commence fasting accordingly
He added: “I implore the Muslim ummah to devote ourselves fully to the worship of Allah and pray fervently for the blessings of Allah for our country and leaders. I will also like to seize this opportunity to call on all Muslim ummah to observe the five daily tarawih and juma’at prayers while urging you to live peacefully with one another irrespective of religious differences as well as urge the wealthy Muslims to assist the less privileged during the holy month. I wish us a successful ramadan.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on his own part, has asked Muslims care for the poor. In a message to Nigerians and Muslims all over the world, the President said the period offered a unique opportunity to “feel the hunger” experienced by the poor so as to feel what it is like to be deprived and marginalized. “Muslims,” he emphasized “should seek greater personal discipline, which is necessary for the realization of a great nation.”
Buhari advised the Muslim elite against food waste and extravagant spending while others face hunger and destitution, urging that they should care for their neighbours, the poor and the marginalized. He also called for prayers for peace in the country and beyond, and for healing and harmony throughout the world.
This is the third year running that the Ramadan is being observed under Covid-19 safety restrictions although this year most countries have relaxed or completely removed them due to a drastic drop in infections and deaths. We wish our teeming Muslim brothers and sisters a peaceful spiritually rewarding fast