THE Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abdul Ganiyy Abubakri Agbotomokekere, has defended his decision to celebrate Eid-el-Fitr on Saturday, insisting that he acted in accordance with the true tradition and dictates of Islam.
Sheikh Agbotomokekere stated this while speaking to Sunday Tribune, after leading a section of Muslims in the city to say the Eid-el-Fitr prayers on Saturday.
The Chief Imam explained that Saturday was ideally Eid day because the 30-day Ramadan fast effectively ended on Friday.
The Sultan of Sokoto who is acclaimed leader of Muslims in the Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had announced on Friday that there were no reports of any sighting of the moon and therefore declared Saturday, the 30th day of Ramadan and Sunday, Eid-el-Fitr day.
But Agbotomokekere insisted that he acted in accordance with the true tradition and dictates of Islam by celebrating Eid-el-Fitr on Saturday.
“We observed 30 days of fasting, which ended on Friday and are celebrated Eid-el-Fitr on Saturday. Our belief and action are rooted in the application of the sound and impeccable Islamic knowledge that we acquired.
“Allah has endowed us with the pristine knowledge of Islam and this is exactly what we put into practice in starting and ending the Ramadan fast. Many are acting differently not following in the path of true, divine knowledge and are, therefore, just doing whatever they want,” he said.
On how he performed the Sallah prayers, he said he shunned the city’s Muslims’ central praying ground in Agodi and led a closed session comprising his family members at his residence in Oja’ba, to observe the two-rakah celebratory prayer.
“Today(Saturday), we observed the Eid prayers and we did that privately in our homes with our families, in accordance with the recommendation of the government on the avoidance of large gatherings to avoid the spread of coronavirus. I performed the two-rakah prayer with my family,” he said.
Advising Nigerians to support the government and be law abiding, Sheikh Agbotomokekere said: “ Today(Saturday) being Eid-el-Fitr for us, which is appropriately so, I urge Nigerians to always follow government instructions. I appeal to youths to do away with crime and other social vices. Those who have been law abiding among them should remain as such. Those who abuse drugs and consume other harmful substances should have a rethink and desist so that they can enjoy good health.”
Meanwhile, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Dawud Akinola, has emphasised the need for Muslims to sustain the virtues of Ramadan and remain God-conscious with the end of the holy month of fasting.
Akinola gave the charge in an Eid-el-Fitr message contained in a statement made available to journalists by his media aide, Akin Abolade.
The Muslim leader stated that the current challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic facing the entire world should be seen as a trial from Allah and a wake-up call to all to do away with atrocious behaviours and walk the path of righteousness.
“Power and wealth have become inconsequential in the face of the coronavirus rampage and this has put paid to the fact that all human beings are equal before God and are treated as such,” Akinola said.
He implored Muslims to abide by the rules set by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, to maintain social distancing, regular washing of the hands, use of sanitiser and wearing of face masks, especially in public places.
Akinola urged the faithful to celebrate Eid-el-Fitr with modesty and say their Sallah prayers at home with their families.