President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Muslims to keep their spirits up in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.
The president made the call in his Sallah message to Muslims on the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
The Eid-el-Fitri is celebrated by Muslims globally to mark the end of the Ramadan fast. This year’s celebration has been largely hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement by his media adviser, Garba Shehu, on Saturday, President Buhari said the coronavirus pandemic has put a dent on what would otherwise have been ”a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting period.”
“For the first time in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives.
”This year’s fasting period was particularly challenging for Muslims because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship, including the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an as well as travelling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.
“It is not easy to give up many of these important duties and activities, but it became imperative to do so in order to control or limit the spread of this deadly disease.”
The Nigerian leader commended the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines.
“I am well aware of the inconveniences these tough measures have brought on the lives of Nigerians, including limiting religious activities and gatherings in large numbers.”
“No government would intentionally impose these tough and demanding measures on its citizens if it had a choice.”
He appealed to other Nigerians whose businesses and means of livelihoods were badly affected by the prolonged lockdown measures for their understanding and cooperation.
PRAY AGAINST COVID-19
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, congratulated Nigerian Muslims for concluding this year’s Ramadan fast and marking Eid-el-Fitr peacefully.
He urged Muslims to imbibe virtues such as feeding the needy, being their brother’s keepers and praying for peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
In a congratulatory message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the speaker further urged Muslims to pray fervently for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic that has been ravaging countries all over the world, including Nigeria.
He said Muslims should also adhere strictly to the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW), whom he described as the best for all Muslims to emulate.
“I bring to Nigerian Muslims warm greetings at this season of Eid-el-Fitr. It is a season of remembrance of the good things that the Almighty Allah has done in our lives.
“Unfortunately, this year’s Eid-el-Fitr will be celebrated low-key, not for our own making, but that is how our Creator wills it. That is why we all must return to Him in prayers to bring an end to this COVID-19 pandemic.
“I enjoin every Nigerian Muslim to be of good character and remain the best of examples, taking after the Holy Prophet (SAW). Let’s also pray for an end to insecurity and other challenges that we face as a nation,” the speaker said.
SUSTAIN LESSONS FROM THE HOLY MONTH
In the same vein, the Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya, felicitated with Muslims in the state and across the world.
In a goodwill message signed by his spokesperson, Ismaila Misilli, the governor urged Muslims to sustain the lessons of the holy month and replicate them in their daily lives for the good of society.
“Eid el-fitr festival connotes sacrifice, selflessness, love and obedience to the tenets of Islam. I therefore enjoin us to draw enduring lessons from the Ramadan and show love to one another as well as promote harmony and peaceful coexistence among our diverse people.
“The same way we all remembered the less privileged and those afflicted by poverty and disease during Ramadan, I implore us to carry over these attributes beyond Ramadan.”
While urging the traditional rulers, religious and community leaders to sustain the prevailing peace and security for the socio-economic development of the state, Mr Yahaya assured that his administration remains committed to the provision and implementation of viable projects and programmes aimed at taking the state to the next level of prosperity and development.
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The governor commended Muslims and the entire people of the state for their steadfastness in the midst of challenges occasioned by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, urging them to remain prayerful and continue to support the government in its efforts to contain the scourge.
“I also enjoin you to continue to complement government efforts in confronting the dreaded COVID-19, by observing all the preventive protocols and complying with restriction orders, while assuring you of our resolve to continue to adopt measures and strategies to curb the spread of the pandemic in the state,” the Gombe governor said.
REMAIN STEADFAST IN PRAYERS
In his message, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State enjoined Muslims and indeed all Nigerians, to remain resolute in their abiding faith in God, through prayers and sacrifice, as the nation battles to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In a statement, Mr Ugwuanyi, who congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and other Muslims on the successful completion of Ramadan, added that the religious exercise will go a long way in the nation’s collective efforts to winning the war against COVID-19 as well as sustain the peace, unity and progress of the country.
While wishing all Muslims a pleasant celebration, the governor urged Nigerians to stay safe, remain steadfast in prayers and continue to love and cherish one another.
“This is an unusual time, not only for us as a people but for the entire humanity and the world. I therefore urge that we remain committed to the core values that strengthen the bond that brought us together as a prosperous nation, as we fight back in solidarity and in determined effort to contain this COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Ugwuanyi said.
INTERNALIZE RAMADAN TAKE-AWAYS
Similarly, Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq also felicitated with Muslims over the completion of the Ramadan fast.
The governor, however, called on Muslims in the state to observe their eid prayers at home as the ban on large social and religious gatherings.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Rafiu Ajakaye, the governor said the ban on religious gatherings remains in place as part of the measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We congratulate our Muslim brethren on the successful completion of Ramadan fasting, and pray the Almighty Allah to accept it as an act of worship, forgive our excesses, grant all our supplications during and after the holy month, and gift us long life and good health to observe several Ramadan in the best state of faith in God.
“Ramadan was a time of complete and sincere submission to the will of God. It served to purify our souls and train us to be discipline, selfless, and conscious of our creator. We beseech Kwarans and indeed Nigerians to internalise the takeaways and let them guide our daily existence for the sake of humanity.
“As the fast ends today, we repeat that the 2020 Ramadan came at an extraordinary time of human existence during which we are to temper certain rights and privileges to preserve the human race against the ravaging deadly Corona Virus (COVID-19).
“To that extent, there shall be no large gathering for congregational Eid prayer or other large social gatherings in Kwara State this year.
“”For emphasis, all religious places remain shut until further notice. All malls and related places are to prevent such conditions or interactions that can spread the virus. All of these are in line with the COVID-19 safety protocols which have been designed solely to flatten the curve of transmission and protect the people.”
IMBIBE LESSONS OF THE SEASON
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, in his message, commended Muslims in the state for observing the Ramadan fast with patience and understanding amidst the COVID-19 scourge, saying the sacrifice will encourage the government to exert all possible efforts and available resources to fight the pandemic.
In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, on Sunday, Mr Ganduje said the government is aware of the challenges Muslims faced fasting amidst the pandemic.
He noted that this year’s eid will be observed amidst extraordinary circumstances due to the global outbreak of the novel disease not just in Kano, but across the globe, adding that ‘’the unescapable constraints on movement and travel will certainly limit festivities and visits to friends, families and relatives as well as other social interactions which are customary during Sallah celebrations.’’
Mr Ganduje paid tributes to all those who lost their lives recently in the state.