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Buhari warns against unhealthy practices as Muslims begin Ramadan fast

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerian Muslims to avoid unhealthy practices that could accelerate the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic as they begin this year’s 30-day Ramadan fast.
The president, who sent his best wishes to Muslims in the country and all over the world following the sighting of the moon, said, “I congratulate all Muslims as they commence this year’s Ramadan fast which is depicted by self-denial, universal brotherhood, austerity and helping relatives and needy people.
He described Ramadan 2020 as a challenge, falling as it is in the period of the global pandemic, which has spread to more than 200 nations, with virtually all countries advising citizens to avoid large gatherings and have their prayers and meals (suhoor and iftar) individually or with family at home.
“In this Ramadan period, the kind of socializing you are used to now risks spreading the Coronavirus,” the President cautions Muslims, while enjoining them to refrain from those Ramadan rituals and traditions such as group meals and congregational prayers that have been put on hold by Muslim religious authorities all over the world.
He urged Muslims to endure and not to use the Coronavirus as an excuse not to participate in the Ramadan fast, unless such abstention is warranted by the excuses clearly outlined by health and religious authorities.
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs announced on Thursday that Ramadan will start on Friday, April 24.
The NSCIA President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, confirmed in a broadcast that the new moon was sighted on Thursday in different parts of the country, meaning that Ramadan will start on Friday in Nigeria.
He said the reports of the moon sighting were received from Muslim leaders and organisations across the country.
He said, “After due verification and authentication by the national moon sighting committee and states committees’ confirmation, as well as routine scrutiny, I hereby announce the sighting of the new moon of Ramadan signifies the end of Sha’aban 1441 AH.
“In accordance with Islamic law, the Muslim faithful are to commence fasting on Friday accordingly.”
During Ramadan, Muslims have to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to sunset.
Though Muslims also mark the month by performing special evening prayers, known as the taraweeh, the lockdown imposed in many countries amid the novel coronavirus pandemic would not make that possible.
Many countries, including the Sultan of Sokoto, had asked the faithful to pray in their homes.

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