The Sultan, in a statement by the JNI Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, advised Muslims to reflect on the lessons of faith, sincerity, sacrifice, humility, compassion, giving, piety and commitment.
According to him, “Muslims should always cast their minds back to the good virtues of the month of Ramadan and keep to its teachings throughout their lives.
“Above all, Muslims are reminded to adhere strictly to the tenets of the Glorious Qur’an, for the dignity of the Ummah and humanity, for the redemption of the Ummah always lies in upholding the imperatives of the Qur’an, especially in this painfully trying moment of our nationhood.”
Given the importance of Ramadan in the lives of Muslims, Sultan urged Muslims to sustain the spirit beyond the month of Ramadan.
“It is no longer news that many parts of the country are witnessing shortage of rainfall, thus the need for more concerted prayers to that effect.
“Most importantly, Muslims are also reminded of Zakatul-Fitr (ordained almsgiving at the end of Ramadan fast) which preferably should be given out to the needy two days before the Eid-el-Fitr day or before the commencement of the Eid i.e. before the Eid prayer commences. This, if done, will assist the downtrodden to celebrate the Sallah happily with the rest of the Muslims.
“We therefore urge Muslim brothers and sisters to continue praying fervently for the peaceful existence of Nigeria, and keep to the pristine teachings of Islam,” the statement read.
Moon Sighted: Sallah Today – Sultan
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-general, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, said Thursday that the new moon of Shawwal was sighted across the country and therefore declared today, Friday, as Sallah.
The Sultan, who spoke in his palace, said Thursday was the 29th Day of Ramadan and Friday July 17 becomes the first day of Shawwal 1436 after hijira and the Day of Eid al-Fitr.
According to a statement which the Sultan personally read, the moon was sighted in more than 10 states of the federation.
The statement read thus, “In line with laid-down Islamic rules and regulations, I have the pleasure to inform you that the new moon of Shawwal had been sighted today, Thursday, the 29th Day of Ramadan 1436, after hijira of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), which is equivalent to 16th July, 2015.
“Reliable reports of moon sightings were received from Muslim leaders and organizations across the country, in states such as Sokoto, Kano, Borno, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe, Bauchi and Kebbi, which were duly verified and authenticated by the National Moon Sighting Committee.
“Consequent upon this, (tomorrow) Friday, July 17, 2015 becomes the first day of Shawwal 1436 after hijira and the day of Eid al-Fitr.”
Sultan, therefore, congratulated all Muslim faithful for the successful completion of the Ramadan fast. He prayed that Allah accept their deeds of faith and reward them with paradise.
The significance of Sallah
Nigerian Muslims joined their counterparts around the globe to mark the end of Ramadan fasting popularly referred to as Eid al-Fitr in Islamic parlance. Muslims observe the fast during the 10th month of the lunar calendar, Shawwal.
Eid al-Fitr or ‘festival of the breaking of the fast’ is celebrated at the end of the Islamic holy month. The fast could be for 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon by Islamic scholars which is announced to the faithful across the world.
During Ramadan, Muslims observe fasting from dawn to dusk and the Eid festival is a reward for them. Apart from fasting, Muslims restrain themselves from all kinds of vices including lying, cheating, violence and theft during the holy month. The celebration of Eid also marks the anniversary of the Qur’an being revealed.
The history of the most significant Muslim celebration dates back to 610 AD when Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), while meditating, had visions of angel Jibril, the messenger of Allah. Over the years, Prophet Mohammed, under the guidance of Jibril, wrote the holy verses of wisdom which later became the code of conduct for followers of Islam and were documented as the holy book of Qur’an. It is believed that the wisdom of the holy Qur’an was revealed to Mohammad during the month of Ramadan and he asked all Muslims to observe the month to express their gratitude to Allah.
After spending a month on rigorous self-cleansing during Ramadan, Muslims around the world break their fast after the crescent moon is sighted after sunset on the last day of the holy month. On the day, Muslim families and friends greet each other with “Eid Mubarak” or “have a Blessed Eid”. While the fasting month is a symbol of sacrifice and purification, the fast-breaking ceremony of Eid aims at promoting love and brotherhood, and the beginning of normal everyday life.
The day begins with an early hour bath (ghusl), after which Muslims put on their best clothes and eat dates before going to the special Eid prayer ceremonies in nearby mosques. Eid al-Fitr, which means ‘breaking the fast’, is incomplete without the special delicacies meant for the special occasion. Muslim families serve the best of Eid meals during their celebratory get-together on that day.
Some interesting facts about Eid al-Fitr are:
It is customary to eat breakfast before the special prayer of Eid, as Prophet Mohammed used to eat something sweet before offering his prayers.
As the crescent moon of Eid appears on different dates in different countries, many Muslim communities celebrate Eid on the day it appears over the sky above Mecca.
The Eid prayer is different from the regular prayer known as Adhaan. The special prayer can be done anytime between the Ishraq (dawn) and Zawal (midday) prayers.
Also, Muslims usually give a special gift of money to charity also known as Zakat-ul-Fitr which is collected and given to Muslims who are poor or in need.
In line with tradition, the federal government has declared Friday, July 17, 2015 and Monday, July 20, 2015 as public holidays to enable Muslims to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast.