Muslims in Nigeria will begin fasting Saturday, following the sighting of the Ramadan moon, head of the Moon sighting committee of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, [NSCIA], Prof. Sambo Wali Junaidu, announced early Saturday in Sokoto, according to the Nigerian Televison Authority NTA and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, monitored in Abuja.
The new announcement updates an earlier statement by the NSCIA, which had asked Nigerian Muslims to commence the Ramadan fast on Sunday, because, according to the Secretary-General of the body, Ishaq Oloyede, a professor of Islamic studies, the moon had not been sighted.
The annual obligatory Ramadan fast is one of the five pillars of Islam, and the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said: “Commence fasting when you sight the (Ramadan) crescent and terminate fasting when you sight the (Shawwal) crescent.
“But if the sky is cloudy, then, count 30 days of Sha’ban or of Ramadan as the case may be”.
Mr. Oloyede’s Thursday statement had hinted that: “However, if the crescent is not sighted on Friday, the Tarawih prayer should be observed on Saturday the 28th of June for the commencement of Ramadan on the 29th of June whether or not it is sighted on that Saturday,” it said.
Below is the full text of Mr. Oloyede’s Thursday statement.
Muslims in Nigeria have been advised to look for the new crescent of Ramadan on Friday, June 27.
This is contained in a statement from the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, on Wednesday in Abuja, signed by its Secretary General, Is-haq Oloyede.
Mr. Oloyede also stated that members of the National Moon Sighting Committee have been deployed with appropriate gadgets to various parts of the country for easy sighting of the moon.
“However, other individuals who are able to sight the crescent are requested to contact, through appropriate authorities, any of the following:
“1. The President-General of NSCIA and the Sultan of Sokoto Tel: 08036470422 2.
2. The Deputy President-General (North) of the NSCIA and the Shehu of Borno Tel: 08037855555, 08023549558 3.
3. The Secretary – General Tel: 08034540120.
4. The Emir of Gwandu and all other Emirs Tel: 08036154369.
5. The Lamido of Adamawa Tel: 07056344449.
6. The Etsu NupeTel: 08039668707.
7. The Otaru of Auchi
8. The Deputy Secretary-General (North) of NSCIA (Tijani El- Miskin) Tel: 08023577013.
9. The Deputy Secretary-General (South) of NSCIA (Adam Idoko) Tel: 08036759892.
10. The President of the League of Imams and Alfas in Yoruba Land: Chief Imam of Osogbo Tel: 08035740333
11. The Baba Adini of Lagos, Hafiz Abou Tel: 08033085292 and
12. The Chairman, National Moon Sighting Committee, Hafis Wali Tel: 08036009090, 08023037478.”
The statement also said where the authorities are satisfied that the crescent has been duly sighted; The President-General and Sultan of Sokoto would announce the commencement of the fast.
“However, if the crescent is not sighted on Friday, the Tarawih prayer should be observed on Saturday the 28th of June for the commencement of Ramadan on the 29th of June whether or not it is sighted on that Saturday,” it said.
The statement also urged all media houses in the country to promptly publicize any announcement by the Sultan of Sokoto.