Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has directed the Muslim Ummah to look out for the crescent of Ramadan 1444 AH, from Wednesday, March 22.
Mr Abubakar gave the directive at a Ramadan Symposium organised by the Sultanate Council in Sokoto on Tuesday.
He urged Nigerians to embrace peace and ensure peaceful coexistence after the general elections.
The symposium with the theme: “Ramadan the Month of Blessings”, was organised in collaboration with the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Islamic Education Trust (IET).
He said that Wednesday, March 22, which is the 29th Day of Sha’aban 1444 AH should be the day for Muslims to look out for the new moon of Ramadan 1444 AH.
“Muslim Ummah should look out for the moon and report its sighting in order for us to inform the society to commence fasting,” Mr Abubakar said.
The sultan further advised Nigerians to eschew differences and shun violent tendencies as the elections were over and God had chosen leaders for the country.
“We should embrace peace with our brothers and sisters, not to allow politics to destroy our relationships. Any politician, who feels aggrieved should seek redress in court.
“Politics and elections are all over and the blessed month of Ramadan is approaching, we should then seek forgiveness from one another.
”This is in order to be among the ones Allah will bless with multiple rewards in the sacred month,” Mr Abubakar added.
The sultan prayed for peace, unity and progress of Sokoto State and Nigeria at large.
However, Muslim authorities in Saudi Arabia and several other Middle Eastern countries say this year’s fasting month of Ramadan will begin Thursday based on the expected sighting of the crescent moon.
Clerics across the region said the moon was not visible Tuesday night, meaning it will almost certainly appear the following evening, heralding the start of the monthlong observance.
During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual intercourse from sunrise until sunset. Even a tiny sip of water or a puff of smoke is enough to invalidate the fast. At night, family and friends gather and feast in a festive atmosphere.
The fasting is aimed at bringing the faithful closer to God and reminding them of the suffering of the poor. Muslims are expected to strictly observe daily prayers and engage in heightened religious contemplation. They are also urged to refrain from gossip, fighting or cursing during the holy month.