Nigeria’s Muslim Right’s Council (MURIC) has urged Muslims to eschew any extreme positions on matters of religion saying the bans being put in place by the government was for their own good.
This was stated in a press statement issued by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Monday, 23rd March, 2020. The statement was signed by the director of the group, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads,
“We are nonplussed by the lethargy manifested by some Muslims towards the danger posed by Covid-19. In spite of government’s efforts at sensitizing the general public on the need to shun gatherings, many Muslims are still calling our office asking us to speak against the ban on public gatherings so that they could observe Jumu‘ah service.
“Let us make our position clear on this. MURIC will not support any Muslim group or individual found contravening the ban on public assembly because the ban is in the best interest of citizens. It is not targeted at any religious group.
“Saudi Arabia cancelled all Jumu‘ah prayers. It also suspended ‘Umrah. For the first time in history, nobody is performing tawaaf at the Haram. In Kuwait, adhan (call to prayer) has been changed from ‘Come for prayer’ (haya ala al-salat) to ‘Pray in your houses (soluu fii buyuutikunm). But here in Nigeria we still find a handful of Muslims who insist on conducting Jumu’ah service. Do we want to be more Muslim than Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
“MURIC warns against extremist propensities. We all can see where Boko Haram has taken us. It started from little excesses like this. Islam is a religion of moderation. It is dangerous phenomena like Corona Virus that the Glorious Qur’an warned us against when it said ‘Do not make your hands contribute to your own destruction, but do good for Allah loves those who do good (Wa laa tulquu biaydiikunm ila al-tahlukah, Qur’an 2:195)
“Prophet Muhammad said, ‘We (Muslims) are a nation of middle-roaders’. He also said on another occasion, ‘The curse of Allah is upon extremists’. He taught us to be wary of harm, i.e. we should not endanger our lives unnecessarily : This he did by saying, ‘Where there is a tangible harm, it ought to be removed.’
“We therefore warn fellow Muslims against tramadolised religiousity and articulated spirituality. The former manifests when Muslims insist on observing Jumu’ah in this corona-infested atmosphere while the latter is exhibited when they insist on conducting asalatu sessions in this dangerous period.
“MURIC salutes the umbrella Islamic organisation in Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for enlightening Muslims in the country on the need for obeying government’s instructions on Covid-19. NSCIA’s statement on the epidemic was scholarly, comprehensive and insightful. We also commend the efforts of other Islamic organisations which issued public statements announcing the stoppage of all gatherings of their followers for either prayers, meetings or social events like naming, marriage and funeral ceremonies until the Corona Virus crisis is over.
“We urge other groups to follow suit. All Islamic organisations should emulate the NSCIA by obeying government’s directives. The Glorious Qur’an directed Muslims to obey those in position of authority (Qur’an 4:59). Based on this, MURIC will not entertain any complaints brought by recalcitrant elements. We base our actions on rationality and credibility. We have no apologies for those whose requests were rejected by us when they sought our backing to conduct Jumu’ah prayer at a time that the whole world is battling Covid-19. We urge them to go back to the true teachings of Islam on such matters.
The director went further to urge Muslims to pray for Nigeria to overcome the health challenge.