The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has asked every Muslim in the country to look for the new moon between Sunday and Monday for the Eid el-Fitri.
The Secretary-General of the council, Is-haq Oloyede in a statement on Sunday, said the council, under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, enjoined all Muslims to look for the moon.
Mr. Oloyede said the Sultan has therefore put in place a National Moon Sighting Committee, NMSC, to that effect.
The Shehu of Borno and NSCIA Deputy President-General is among the 34 Muslims across the country as members of the committee.
“NMSC has advised the President-General that the crescent of Shawwal should be searched for on Monday, July 4, 2016 equivalent to 29th Ramadan 1437 AH.
“If the crescent is actually sighted by informed persons on Monday night and His Eminence is so advised by the experts, he would declare Tuesday, July 5, 2016 as the first day of Shawwal (‘Id day).
“If, however, the crescent is not sighted on Monday night, Wednesday, July 6, 2016 automatically becomes the first of Shawwal 1437 AH (‘Id day)”, Mr. Oloyede said.
He enjoined Muslims all over the country to be on the lookout for the directive of the President-General of NSCIA on the completion of this year’s Ramadan fast.
He said as soon as the NMSC confirmed the sighting of the crescent, the committee would advise the president-general of the NSCIA, who will announce the completion of Ramadan and the observance of ‘Idul-Fitri’ prayer.
“Muslims are also strongly advised to fast for six days between the second and the end of Shawwal”, Mr. Oloyede said.
The secretary-general also said Muslims should see it as necessity, paying ‘Zakatul-Fitri’ with the intention of lifting the hearts of the indigent members of the community.
“The council urges all to ensure the delivery of Zakatul-Fitri to the appropriate recipients – the poor – and guard against its diversion by any agent or intermediary”, he said.
Mr. Oloyede said Ramadan might come and go, the lessons in it must continue to reflect in the lives of Muslims.
“The council encourages Muslims to continue praying for peaceful co-existence in Nigeria, as they keep the virtues and gains of the sacred month as a spiritual guide towards accelerated development as individuals and a nation”, he said.