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Sokoto cleric defies Sultan’s directive, leads Eid-il-fitr prayers Tuesday

A Sokoto Muslim cleric, Sheikh Musa Lukwa, on Tuesday, led his followers to observe Eid prayer.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, had on Monday, declared Wednesday, as the day of Eid-el-Fitr.

The Sultan, who is the President General of Nigeria’s Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, said the decision followed the report of National Moon Sighting Committees across the country, which confirmed the non-sighting of the new moon.

A statement signed by the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Religious Affairs to the Sultanate Council, Prof Sambo Junaidu, made available to newsmen in Sokoto on Monday evening, said, “The council accepted the report and accordingly declared Wednesday, April 10, 2024, as the first day of Shawwal 1445AH.

However, Lukwa flouted the Sultan’s directive on moon sighting as he conducted prayers at his Juma’at mosque around 8:30am. on Tuesday.

Justifying the action, Lukwa said the moon of Shawwal was sighted in neighbouring Niger Republic on MondayHe said, “There were reports of sightings of the new crescent in many places, including here in Nigeria, but the one that we were sure of is that of Niger Republic.

“We have a verified video clip of their council of Ulamah authenticating the report after which the country declared Tuesday as Sallah day. So it is now binding on us to observe Eid on Tuesday because this is what the teachings of the Holy Prophet says.

“If we can accept that of Saudi Arabia, why can’t we agree with that of Niger Republic, which is nearer to us.

“I am not saying all Nigerian Muslims must observe their Eid prayer on Tuesday, but we have no moral justification not to observe our prayer on Tuesday because the new moon was sighted by our neighbours. And remember, there is no fasting on Sallah day. It is prohibited.”

Lukwa has been defying Sultan’s directives, accusing the monarch of forcing Muslims to accept the moon sighting of Saudi Arabia, which he believes is against the tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).The cleric, however, challenged any scholar with a contrary view to a public debate.


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