Written By Saeed Hamid Jallo
Muslims in Ghana have been called upon to abide by the Islamic ruling that calls on them to fast when they see the crescent and break the fast also upon seeing the crescent.
This call was made this morning by the General Secretary of the Ahlussunna Wal Jama’ (ASWAJ) Sheikh Yakub Abban in an exclusive interview with your most reliable Islamic news channel www.mytawheedonline.com.
The Sheikh was reacting to a press release from the Ministry of Interior apparently with the blessing of the Office of the National Chief Imam announcing that Wednesday 6th July marks the Eidul Fitr celebration and therefore has been declared a holiday.
The statement reads “the general public is hereby informed that Wednesday, 6th July 2016 which marks the celebration of EIDUL-FITR is a statutory public holiday and should be observed as such throughout the country.”
“ASWAJ follows strictly the instructions of the Prophet Muhammad and therefore will not abide by this directive if the crescent is sighted before the stipulated date.” Sheikh Abban added.
He called on all Muslims to start searching for the crescent on the 29th day of Ramadan which falls on Monday 4th July 2016, “and if it is sighted all Muslims must break their fast and celebrate the Eid on Tuesday 5th June, but if we do not see the crescent on that day then we automatically celebrate the Eid on Wednesday”, the secretary added.
He however cautioned Muslims against celebrating the Eid just for the benefit of a holiday thereby losing the blessing that comes with praying on a day Allah Himself has chosen for us.
“Unfortunately this has now become a convention in Ghana. We need to put a stop to it and work according to the laid down principles of Islam,” Sheikh Abban concluded.
Meanwhile the spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Armiyaw Shuaib has defended the position of the Office of the National Chief Imam. He explained to www.mytawheedonline.com that as the spiritual head of the Muslim community in Ghana his Eminence Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu has the mandate to adopt a position that will unify the Ghanaian Ummah on the celebration of the Eid.
“Since we requested for a holiday we must endeavour to celebrate it together on the same day, and to be able to achieve this we need to give out the date as early as possible for the nation to prepare for it hence the decision to peg it on the 6th of July which is perfect under this circumstance,”
He went further to explain that Ghana is not 100% Muslim and therefore any decision taken must be in consideration of the larger society bearing in mind that the holiday is not being observed by only the Muslim community.
Sheikh Armiyaw also mentioned that the National Chief Imam with his deep knowledge in matters of Islamic jurisprudence will never take a decision that goes contrary to the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, “Let us not forget that a similar incident happened during the time of the prophet where the Eid was put aside for the next day, therefore this can be picked as an analogy and applied in our time” he added.
However Sheikh Abban explained that what happened during the time of the prophet was far different from this, he explained that the prophet was already fasting before the information came that the crescent had been sighted. He therefore instructed his people to suspend the fast and observe Eid the following day since the information came late and the time for Eid prayers was already past.
Meanwhile the two leaders are in agreement on the need for parliament to grant the nation two days for the Eidul Fitr, this they believe, will put to rest the controversy that has characterized our Eid celebration especially during the Eidul-Fitr.