The Islamic Clerics (Ulamas) Forum has urged scholars to lead by example and comply with experts’ guidlines on COVID-19 in order for their followers to emulate them.
The advice is contained in a communique jointly signed by Malam Aminu- Inuwa Muhammad, Prof. Ahmed Murtala and Dr Abubakar Muhammad-Sani.
They issued on Tuesday the communique after their meeting on Shari’a positions on COVID-19 via Zoom.
The clerics said Islamic scholars and their immediate family members must be seen in the forefront of adhering to the rules and set up guidelines by authorities to serve as role models for others to ensure containment of Coronavirus pandemic.
The Ulamas also cautioned scholars to avoid statements that would incite or provoke the anger of people against authorities in the name of freedom of expression.
The forum urged scholars and Imams to use the Juma’at pulpit and suitable outlets in mobilising people on the dangers of COVID-19 and ways of mitigating its spread as prescribed by experts.
“We need to collaborate with each other and find suitable ways of communicating genuine concerns, sincere advice and constructive criticism to the authorities concerned, rather than publicly attacking them during sermons or lectures.
“There is need to work with competent experts in producing clearly spelt out protocols for ensuring the health and safety of worshippers in Juma’at and other mosques by removing carpets and constant washing of hands.
“We also need to provide hand wash facilities and sanitisers as well as insisting on the use of facemasks in our worship centres.
“The scholars should also emphasise on the obligation and a religious duty to obey and cooperate with those in authority, especially on issues to do with public interest,” it advised.
Meanwhile, the forum urged government to always contact and seek advice from Ulamas to understand the provisions of Shari’ah on issues, whenever regulations and guidlines that affected religious practices were going to be introduced.
It however enjoined government to take measures that would make it easy for people to comply with guidlines or protocols on prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
The forum underscored the need to properly train security agents on how to assist people in understanding the guidelines and regulations while encouraging them to comply without undue intimidation and harassment.
The communique indicated that notable scholars and Imams across the country participated in the discussion via Zoom and WhatsApp platforms. (NAN)