Amidst reports that a few Muslims still insist on conducting
congregational prayers, particularly the weekly Friday Jumu’ah prayer
despite the ravaging Corona Virus in all parts of the globe, an Islamic
human rights group has warned Muslims to eschew extreme positions in
matters of religion.
This was stated in a press statement issued by the Muslim Rights Concern
(MURIC) on Monday, 23rd March, 2019. The statement was signed by the
director of the group, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“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,
“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
“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.
“Furthermore, we call the attention of such cynics to the gravity of the
situation. Germany yesterday banned any gathering that is more than two
Italy is under total lockdown as the number of fatalities rose to 4,825
by yesterday. Lagos initially limited the number of people allowed in
any gathering to 50 but this was later reduced to 20 and it is all in
our interest as the number of infections in Nigeria rose to 27
“We Muslims must face reality. The manner of congregational salat inside
the mosque has all the likelihoods of infection. We stand shoulder to
shoulder and feet to feet. There must be no gap between a worshipper and
the man standing next to him. On the contrary, health experts recommend
at least one meter between persons in social interaction in order to
“MURIC urges all Muslims to see government’s instructions on Covid-19 as
necessary and beneficial to them. It is therefore in their best interest
to cooperate. Zuhr prayers should be offered at home in place of
Jumu’ah. The same may be done with the five congregational prayers where
the number of those in the mosque is more than 20. However, we strongly
advise praying daily salat at home with members of the family as
“We call on Muslims to supplicate individually for Nigeria to overcome
this humongous health challenge within a short time. Individual Muslims
are also urged to seek forgiveness from Allah for the interruptions in
our pattern of worship. We remind Nigerian Muslims that Islam teaches
moderation, not extremism. We therefore advise against gymnastic
exhibition of piety. There is no point trying to be more Muslim than