Many mosques were on Friday shut against the weekly congregational Jumm’ah prayers in Ilorin the Kwara State capital.
Also the national mosque in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT was deserted following the nationwide lockdown as the deadly coronavirus, COVID-19 continue to spread in the country.
This was in compliance with the directive of the President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III to prevent the coronavirus infection among the worshippers.
Some of the Jumm’ah mosques visited by our correspondents were not opened for the weekly special service.
From the Abuja National Mosque to others where the Jumm’ah services normally hold at Wuse, Garki and Maitama, there were only few Muslims around while majority stayed away.
At the Wuse Market mosque, there was no usual blockage of the road once the Imam started his Khutbah (sermon) as no service took place at all.
Also at the community mosque opposite the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC headquarters at Wuse Zone 3; it was like a ghost town as the usual festive mood around the area every Friday was not there.
The coronavirus scare also took the shine off the Jumm’ah service at the NASFAT Mosque, as it was shut against believers to observe the special prayers.
Some Muslims who spoke to our correspondent said they had to obey the order of the Sultan being their spiritual head in the country, adding that the mosque would remain closed until another order is issued.
It would be recalled that the Sultan had last Monday ordered the immediate closure of all mosques in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
In a statement issued in Abuja by the NSCIA, Director of Administration, Alhaji Yusuf Nwoha, he said the development is in line with the efforts of the federal government to stem the steady spread of COVID-19.
The statement explained that the decision was taken after wide consultations with all relevant stakeholders in the country.
It said “as hard as this decision is, it became necessary that Muslims should join hands with federal government and its agencies in the sustained fight against the spread of the virulent COVID-19 which the World Health Organization, WHO has since declared a pandemic.”
“The decision to close-down mosques is not alien to Islamic tradition and culture as it could be traced to the time of our noble Prophet (S.A.W). In such situation, the (Mu’adhdhin) is asked to inform the believers to pray in their dwellings,” the Sulatn added.
Similarly, a leading Islamic human rights group, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, warned Muslims to eschew extreme positions in matters of religion and avoid conducting the weekly congregational prayers due to the ravaging COVID-19.
MURIC, in a statement signed and released by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, cautioned warned Muslims against tramadolised religiosity and articulated spirituality, saying the former manifests when Muslims insist on observing Jumu’ah in this corona-infested atmosphere while the latter is exhibited when they insist on conducting asalatu sessions in this dangerous period.
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