By BASHIR ADEFAKA
The official duty of His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, in the monitoring, declaration and management of moon sighting for the Islamic calendar year 1443AH in Nigeria has concluded.
Essentially, the Sultan’s declaration, eight days ago, of new moon sighting for the 12th and last month of the Islamic year tallied with the counting of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on which rested the duty to declare Day of Arafat, and that in itself proves the effort of the Sariki Musulumi of Nigeria more of one deserving unreserved accolades. And because every believer, who is desirous of pleasing his Lord in discharging his religious duties, needs a rightful leader to lead him, Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has provided that leadership going to 16 years without verifiably veering off the track.
The search for new moon, since it is the basis on which the worship of Allah by Muslims is largely rested, formed a major aspect of the Sultan’s Peace, Unity and Development Project when he ascended the throne and naturally became the Leader of Muslims in Africa’s most populous country on 2nd November 2006.
In ensuring effectiveness, he breaks the duty into segments with coordinating centres scattered all over the country and trusted people searching, receiving and timely getting information regarding moon sighting anywhere in the country across to the Sultanate Council Sokoto, where the President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and his committee of clerics in the Palace do careful checks, then he prepares his speech and declares; whether the search is positive or negative. His declaration thus becomes what the Federal Government of Nigeria is led by in issuing its goodwill messages to the Ummah and, at the terminating time, declaring public holidays where necessary.
Where it is negative, especially for Ramadan fast and Shawwal, the current month is counted to 30 and the next day becomes, automatically, first day of the new month. The conclusion of 1443AH moon sighting by the Sultan came with yet another certainty that the President General of the Jama’atul Nasir Islam (JNI) has led the over 100 million Muslims of Nigeria well in the practice of their religion.
The Sultan, an ostensibly unputdownable in all the sections of life that he belongs nationally, continentally and globally, has tolerated many attempts to denigrate or distract him over his efforts, for which rewards he always looks up only to his Lord, as some individuals, per adventure in futile effort to be more Islamic than the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him), would always insist on commencing and terminating Ramadan fast by their own volition.
Some would even hasten to preempt the Sultan by releasing to the media tarawih in Saudi Arabia as if Islam is about waylaying a process, and doing that while the Sultanate Council Sokoto and the Prof. Usman el-Nafati-led National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC) are still collating reports from moon sighting centres across the length and breadth of the country, and thereby confusing the same Muslim public that should look up to the Sultan’s declaration. They claim, sometimes, that moon has been sighted in India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and even United Kingdom whereas, the new moon a Muslim Ummah uses to begin and end fast of Ramadan is vested mainly on authorities of the country of sighting. If Allah wishes, he will make all nations sight new moon at the same time.
However, the Eid-ul-Adha is decided by Saudi Arabia’s declaration of Day of Arafat that is the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah and, accurately, the new moon, declared by the Sultan – of the 12th month of this running-out Islamic year and month of Hajj, tallied with the counting of the country that decides Arafat and the vast majority of Nigerian Muslims have commended the quintessential administrator and leader, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni.
Final call for special prayers
In the meantime, the Sultan, who is also the natural Leader of Nigeria’s foremost Islamic body, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), has made his final call on Muslim faithful both at home and abroad on Hajj in Saudi Arabia to leverage on the abundant opportunities provided by the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah especially the need to fast on Friday that is Arafat Day by using them to supplicate fervently for Allah’s mercy on the country – Nigeria.
In a statement issued and signed dated Dhul-Hijjah 8, 1443AH equivalent of July 7, 2022 by Secretary General of the JNI, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar called on Muslims to seek Allah’s intervention over the most unfortunate recent happenings in Nigeria.
“Considering that two events are coinciding on a Friday i.e. tomorrow and the need to remind Muslims to fast the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah (Arafat) cannot be overemphasized, just as it is mandated by the Prophet (SAW) and having fallen on such a special day – Friday, being the best day of the week, wherein Jumu’ah Prayer is observed and prayers are answered in a specific Sa’a (hour) and Arafat – the best day of the year, wherein standing for it, is observed by pilgrims, and Allah, the Most benevolent forgives and answers all supplications on the Arafat day gracefully,” Khaliyu Aliyu, also an associate professor, opened the call.
“Thus, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto and the President-General, JNI, urges Nigerian Muslims to fast the day, as was recommended by the Prophet (PBUH) and to equally pray ceaselessly to Allah, the Most High for His quickest intervention.
“Nigerian pilgrims are also implored to specifically pray for Nigeria and its leaders, while standing for the Arafat.
“The Sultan calls on the Nigerian Muslims to please in the name of Allah fervently supplicate to Allah for His intervention and an end to the myriad challenges bedeviling the country.
“It is obvious and very scary if we don’t humble ourselves to the Almighty Allah, an end to these orgies seems not insight if happenings in the country are anything to underscore.
“He implores us all to dedicate special prayers against all the menaces and the hydra-headed calamities (of insecurity, poverty, high cost of living and corruption) occurring in Nigeria. Similarly, with 2023 general elections fast approaching, we need to also seek Allah’s apt intervention for stability, security, peace and development of Nigeria. Indisputably, as people of faith we MUST submit ourselves to Allah, especially that all efforts geared towards restoration of peace and order seems to defy solutions.
“We however reiterate that the need for fervent prayer for peaceful and smooth political transition, and an end to the varied socio-economic challenges is ardently necessary,” he said.