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Sokoto Cleric Leads Eid Prayers, Defies Saudi Arabia, Sultan Directives, Dares Scholars With Contrary View

Sheikh Musa Lukwa, a Sokoto-based cleric, on Tuesday, led his followers to observe eid prayer.

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the leadership of Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, had declared Wednesday as the first of Shawwal and Eid day, commemorating the completion of the 2024 Ramadan fast.

The council said the crescent moon was not sighted on Monday, the same view earlier espoused by Saudi Arabia authorities.

But Lukwa, who has over the years disobeyed the Sultan’s directive on moon sighting, led prayers at his Juma’at mosque around 8:30am.

Justifying the action, Lukwa said the moon of Shawwal was sighted in neighbouring Niger Republic on Monday

“There were reports of sightings on the new crescent in many places, including here in Nigeria, but the one that we were sure of is that of Niger Republic.”

“We have a verified video clip of their council of Ulamah authenticating the report after which the country declared Tuesday as Sallah day. So it is now binding on us to observe Eid on Tuesday because this is what the teachings of the Holy Prophet says.

“If we can accept that of Saudi Arabia, why can’t we agree with that of Niger Republic which is nearer to us.

“I am not saying all Nigerian Muslims must observe their Eid prayer on Tuesday but we have no moral justification not to observe our prayer on Tuesday because the new moon was sighted by our neighbors. And remember there is no fasting on Sallah day, it is prohibited,” he said.

Lukwa has been defying Sultan directives, accusing the monarch of forcing Muslims to accept the moon sighting of Saudi Arabia which he believes is against the tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The cleric however, challenged any scholar with a contrary view to a public debate.

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