Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed this year’s 30-day Ramadan fast following the sighting of the moon, charging that Muslims avoid ritual practices that could spread the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari, while sending his best wishes to Muslims across the country and all over the world as they begin the fast, said: “I congratulate all Muslims as they commence this year’s Ramadan fast which is depicted by self-denial, universal brotherhood, austerity and helping relatives and needy people.”
President Buhari described this year’s Ramadan as a challenge, falling as it is at a period of a global pandemic, which has spread to more than 200 countries, with virtually all governments advising citizens to avoid large gatherings and to have their prayers and meals (suhoor and iftar) individually or with family at home.
“In this Ramadan period, the kind of socializing you are used to now risks spreading the coronavirus,” the president cautioned while enjoining Muslims to refrain from those Ramadan rituals and traditions such as group meals and congregational prayers that have been put on hold by Islamic religious authorities all over the world.
President Buhari urged Muslims to endure and not to use the coronavirus crisis as an excuse not to participate in the Ramadan fast unless such abstention is warranted by the excuses clearly outlined by health and religious authorities.
He wished Muslims in the country and the world over the blessings of the holy month.