Muslims in Nigeria have been asked to search for the Shawwal crescent on Thursday after sunset.
The President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, gave the advice in a statement released on Tuesday by the Director of Administration of the NSCIA, Arc. Zubairu Haruna Usman-Ugwu.
According to the statement, Sultan’s admonition was sequel to the advice given by the National Moon-Sighting Committee (NMSC), in which the Sultan enjoins the Nigerian Muslim Ummah to search for the crescent immediately after sunset on Thursday, 29th Ramadan 1444 A.H, which is equivalent to 20th April 2023.
“If the crescent is sighted by Muslims in accordance with the moon sighting and verification standards, then His Eminence would declare Friday, 21st April 2023 as the 1st of Shawwal and as the day of ‘Idul Fitr.
“However, if the crescent is not sighted that day, then Saturday, 22nd April 2023, automatically becomes the day of ‘Idul Fitr,” Usman-Ugwu said.
Sultan Abubakar lll urged the Muslims, in addition to the established and traditional Islamic leaders in each locality, to also contact the members of the NMSC to report any credible and positive sighting of the crescent of Shawwal 1444 AH.
He told Muslims to, in the spirit of Ramadan, remember that Zakatul Fitr (special Ramadan charity) is a compulsory food levy imposed on privileged Muslims, to be given to the less privileged in the society, and therefore, urged all concerned to ensure that they do not only comply but comply on time.
“The stipulated practice is to give out the prescribed measurement to beneficiaries in the last two days of Ramadan and not later than before the ‘Id prayer,” he said.
The Sultan felicitated with the Nigerian Muslim ‘Ummah and the entire Muslim world on the auspicious occasion of the 1444 A.H. ‘Idul Fitr and also beseech Allah to grant everyone the opportunity to witness many more of it.
“The council encourages all Muslims to pray fervently to the Almighty Allah, especially during the concluding part of Ramadan, for the peace, security and development of Nigeria,” Usman-Ugwu said.