‘We can’t afford repeating Italy’s mistake’ — Sultan tackles Islamic clerics over false COVID-19 teachings

The Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, has called out some Muslim clerics for not preaching the right thing about the coronavirus pandemic ravaging countries across the globe to their Muslim followers, thereby misleading them.

The Sultan, who spoke through the JNI Secretary General, Dr Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu, in a statement, said it was unfortunate that such Islamic clerics who ought to be guiding their followers have continued to flout measures put in place by both state and federal governments to fight the pandemic.

Recall that the leader of Izalatu Islamic sect in Plateau State, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, had reportedly told his followers in  one of his recent preachings that there was nothing like the deadly virus in the world.

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This had consequently been followed by cases of two Islamic clerics were caught while conducting the Friday congregational prayers in Malali and Ungwan Kanawa areas, all in the Kaduna North Local Government of the state despite an ongoing curfew put in place by the state government.

Reacting to such developments, the Sultan said it was imperative for Islamic clerics to support ongoing fight against the killer virus in Nigeria to avoid witnessing the experience of Italy.

The statement read in part, “Jama’atu Nasril Islam under the leadership of His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, JNI, is once again saddened with the recent unfortunate developments of misleading the Muslim Ummah (Community) by some sections of ‘Ulama (preachers) over the coronavirus prevalence.

“We must as an Ummah avoid a repeat of the current trend in Italy, which was partly due to non-adherence to expert advice over the pandemic. Allah, the most wise says “…So ask those who know if you know not” Q16:43. Therefore, we should all bear in mind that knowledge is an amanah (trust) and must be safeguarded and delivered as such, thus the need for this statement.

“One may not be wrong to conclude that the action of some of the ‘Ulama clearly depicts sheer whims and caprices of their myopic worldview, stark ignorance of reality based on genuine knowledge and medical scholarship.

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“It is, however, regrettable that as the negative actions of such preachers incite innocent Muslims, who are unaware of the serious health implications of adhering to such empty dispositions that invariably endanger humanity. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the issue of plague and/or pandemic is not new throughout human history, either at various times or places, the Muslim world inclusive.

“It is thus sheer monumental ignorance to falsely claim that the pandemic of the coronavirus does not exist and that it is a lie and a shadow of a ghost. Such lamentable utterances leave much to be desired by any scholar that is worth being called a scholar. Moreover, the matter is a documented fact whose medical precedents have been set in curbing its tide in human history.

“Therefore, the current position of government is not a new standpoint to curtail the spread of the infection. Rather, new methods of mitigating it and nipping it in the bud emerged in this contemporary world we live in, as a result of scholarly findings.”

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