A Sokoto cleric has been chastised for holding Eid prayer on Sunday
- Recall, that Sultan had on Saturday announced that Eid prayer will be held on Monday
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EKO HOT BLOG reports that Islamic scholars and the Muslim Rights Concern have chastised Sheikh Musa Lukwa, an Islamic cleric in Sokoto, for defying the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on moon sighting and leading his followers in Eid prayers on Sunday.
The Sultan announced on Saturday that the moon sighting committee had received no reports on the Shawwal moon sighting from anywhere in the country, so Eid-el-Fitri will be held on Monday.
However, in his sermon on Sunday, Lukwa stated that they have confirmed the sighting of the new crescent in many places in Nigeria and neighboring countries, as well as the new moon in many places within Sokoto State.
According to him, the moon was seen at Fakku and Wauru in Sokoto’s Kebbe and Gada local government areas, respectively.
In response, the Chairman of the MURIC Sokoto chapter, Muhammad Aliyu, told The PUNCH that Lukwa was wrong to defy the Sultan’s directive.
“Under Sharia Law, we Muslims are expected to follow our leaders,” he said. The Sheikh’s argument is that the Sultan is merely a ceremonial leader with no real power. He’s saying that we can’t follow him like Muslims used to follow Sultans in the past. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Sultans held supreme power and authority over everyone, but they are now primarily ceremonial leaders. That is Sheikh’s argument, but he is incorrect because the Sultan is still the religious leader of Muslims, as the majority of Islamic scholars agree.”
On Sheikh Lukwa’s claim of sighting the moon, the MURIC chairman doubted him, saying naked eyes cannot make the sighting.
An Islamic scholar from Niger State, Ustaadh ‘Umar Paiko, faulted the Sheikh while quoting a portion of the Hadith to show why an individual Muslim cannot go against the directive of the Sultan.
He said, “It’s not unusual. I know a lot about Sheikh Lukwa, he disagrees with the Sultan a lot. We (majority of Islamic scholars and students) have disagreements with him concerning the way we understand the Hadith.
“There’s a portion of the Hadith which says the first day of fast is the day that everybody is fasting and the last day is the day everybody has stopped fasting, that is the Eid. The understanding of majority of scholars is that this is a reference to a leader because the unity can only be achieved on the directive of a leader.
So, if your leader has not yet announced the sighting of the crescent moon, then it’s not the day for the beginning of the fast or its ending. So, an individual cannot go against this.”
On his part, Ustaadh Ajijolakewu from Ilorin said the Sheikh should be sanctioned so that he can learn how to relate with a ruler.
He said, “The truth is that he has disobeyed the established authority. The Prophet said the day that all Muslims break their fast is the day agreed by their ruler. So, even if you have seen the crescent moon by yourself, you cannot break your fast.
“So, what the Sheikh did was wrong according to Islam. He has to be sanctioned for some period so he can learn the basics of relating with a ruler, especially a constituted authority concerning the affairs of Muslims. My sincere advice to such a person is to desist from such act because it can cause disunity among Muslims.”
Lukwa said to journalists that a lecturer at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, confirmed the sighting of the new moon on the university’s main campus.
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All attempts to speak with the Sultan’s representative, Waziri Sokoto, who is also the Chairman of the Sultanate Council’s Advisory Committee on Religious Affairs, Prof Sambo Junaidu, were futile because his phone number was not reachable at the time of sending this report. However, according to a palace source who requested anonymity, the Sultanate council stands by the statement issued on Saturday in response to the moon sighting.
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