By Muhammad Bello/Habibu Harisu
Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto has declared Thursday as the first day for the beginning of the Ramadan fasting in Nigeria.
Abubakar announced the sighting of the new moon in Sokoto on Wednesday in a broadcast.
He said the new moon was sighted in various places across the country that includeed Sokoto, Niger, Yobe, Port Harcourt, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa and other areas.
The Sultan said that reports of the moon sighting were received from Muslim leaders and organizations across the country.
“Upon due verification and authentication by the national moon sighting committee and states committees’ confirmation, as well as routine scrutiny, the sighting of the new moon of Ramadan signifies the end of Sha’aban 1439 AH.
”In accordance with Islamic law, Muslim Ummah are to commence fasting on Thursday accordingly.”
He enjoined all Muslims to devote themselves fully to the worship of Allah throughout the holy month, and use the period to pray for the progress, peace and prosperity of the nation.
“We further called on Nigerians to continue to live peacefully with one another irrespective of religious and tribal difference,” he said.
In a message to muslims worldwide to mark the beginning of Ramadan, President Muhammadu Buhari said fasting is not just merely meant to stay hungry or thirsty, but an opportunity to strive for inner purification and self-accountability.
“It is meant to inculcate righteousness and discipline,” he said.
President Buhari enjoined fasting Muslims to increase their love for humanity, acts of charity, kindness, generosity and gratitude.
He said the Holy Prophet Muhammad used to spend very generously on the poor and the needy during this period, and urged Muslims in the country and all over the world to copy the good example.
He called on Muslims and all Nigerians to always remember men and women who are less fortunate than themselves and to help the government in confronting the challenges facing the nation.
The President prayed Allah to grant all Muslims the strength to successfully complete the fasting period.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims observe one month fasting.
Fasting in the month of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a compulsory religious obligation on all adult Muslims.