Some leading northern Islamic clerics have declared Saturday 23rd May (today) as the first day of Shawwal 1441, which is Eid-el-fitri day.
This follows the sighting of the moon in some parts of the country.
Eid-el-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.
This religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast.
The declaration by the northern Islamic clerics is contrary to the directive to Nigerian Muslims by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, that they should fast on Saturday and observe Eid prayers on Sunday, May 24 . The Sultan is the head of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs .
Prominent Islamic scholar and leader of the Tijjaniya Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi has asked his followers to observe their Eid prayers today (Saturday).
Equally, members of Shi’a group in Nigeria lead by detained Shiekh Ibrahim Zakzaky will equally observe their Eid prayers today.
Leader of the Shi’a group in Mabera, Zamfara state, Sidi Manniru stated that based on their established procedures of sighting the crescent, some of their members reported from Yabo, Illela and Dukkuma town of Isa local government of the state.
According to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths, Ramadan lasts 29 to 30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon
The beginning and end of Islamic months are determined by the sighting of the new moon.
This year’s Ramadan began on April 24 in Nigeria.
This year, Eid celebrations will be less than traditional under COVID-19 restrictions. Many mosques remain closed due to social distancing measures, and religious leaders encourage Muslims to pray at home and refrain from large gatherings.
On May 19, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar issued a fatwa regarding the Eid prayers, which states that although the general guidance during Eid is for Muslims to pray in congregation, it is permissible to perform prayers at home.
The said ‘Eid-ul-Fitr Prayer be observed at home with family members or alone in case there isn’t anyone with him or her, at home,” the JNI said in a statement by its Secretary-General, Khalid Aliyu.
Eid-el-Fitr is one of the two great festivals in Islam. The other is Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, when the Hajj pilgrimage takes place.