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“Adhere to govt directives”, Sultan tells Muslims – COVID-19

The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has urged Muslims to adhere to the directives of the authorised agencies such as Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.

In a statement on Thursday by the NSCIA Deputy Secretary General, Prof Salisu Shehu, Sultan Abubakar described Coronavirus as the most virulent the world has had to deal with in recent times.

He said: “Islam is not just a religion in the narrow sense of the word, it is a comprehensive and complete way of life. It has provided guidance to humanity in all aspects of our life. Prophet Muhammad had given us universal guidance on how to conduct ourselves in a pandemic situation like the one in which the world has found itself today. He says ‘whenever you hear of epidemic, do not travel to the affected place, and those already in the place should not travel out to other (unaffected) places’. It is pertinent to point out that if countries had complied with this teaching of the Prophet, the disease would not have quickly and easily spread to other parts of the world like wild fire.

However, it is clear that measures taken at quarantining infected persons, prohibiting indiscriminate crowding and banning travels are all in line with the teaching of Prophet Muhammad.

“It is important for everyone to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. Such precautions include frequent hand washing with soap, limiting physical contact by giving verbal salutations instead of shaking hands and hugging, observing proper hygiene when coughing or sneezing among others.”

Sultan Abubakar urged Imams, preachers and organisations to sensitise their members on these precautionary steps.

He advised Muslim to desist from spreading false news about the virus.

“Thus, there should be no circulation of rumours, false and misleading information; only official statements from appropriate agencies should be relied upon”.

He urged intending pilgrims to adhere to all directives by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which are geared towards ensuring the well-being and safety of all.

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He advised mosques and Islamic centres to discourage members from attending any mosque activities even if they are only experiencing mild symptoms. “The symptoms include respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. It is obligatory for you to keep away and self-isolate if you have been diagnosed with Coronavirus in order to prevent the virus from spreading. Preventing harm, especially to the lives of others take precedence over the benefits of attending mosque activities. Self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing are all integral parts of prevention of harm in these critical times,” he said.

The Muslim Congress (TMC) urged President Muhammadu Buhari to close all land, air and sea borders immediately.

TMC Amir (President) Dr Luqman AbdurRaheem said Nigeria must not be complacent or over-confident that we can deal with the Coronavirus just as we did with the Ebola virus.

“The usual method of asking people who have been in contact with the infected to self-quarantine and report themselves to the health authorities is not that effective since they may also spread the virus to others without knowing. Isn’t it better then to close the borders so that people are not even coming in with the virus in the first instance? This is what will prevent us from recording further infections since the number of confirmed cases in the country has risen to 12,” he said.

According to him, banning government officials from foreign travel is commendable but insufficient to tackle the problem at hand. The strategy for combating this contagious virus, AbdurRaheem said, must be wholesome and all-inclusive.

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