Dr Adams Tukur is one of the prominent Islamic scholars in Northern Nigeria. He is the Chief Imam of the Almanar Mosque, Kaduna. He holds a PhD and also teaches at the Kaduna State University (KASU). In this nterview by MUHAMMAD SABIU. he shares his thoughts on the outbreak of the coronavirus and the impact the closure of mosques as well as the suspension of congregational prayers on the Muslim ummah. Excerpts:
How has it been since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country. What are the challenges you are facing so far?
The closure of mosques during coronavirus pandemic is in line with Islamic point of view. Islam enjoins Muslims to take precautions against all harmful things or situations. So these situations have originated from the Prophet (SAW). He said if people are attacked by any illness, the people should restrict themselves from the area where the problem is identified and those who are not affected should stay where they are. They should not be allowed to go near the crisis area. This is the Islamic point of view and the step taken by the government as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus was line with the teachings of Islam. So Islam is always protecting human beings or humanity. So, banning congregational prayer is not banning the prayer itself. With the ban, you can’t go to the mosque but you are expected to remain at home and observe your five daily prayers.
What the authorities did is in tandem with Islamic teachings. The only thing now, one can not interact with his fellow Muslims but if you stay at home and pray, in shaa Allah, God will accept one’s prayers. If you can remember during rainstorms season Muslims are enjoined to remain at home. Those who are in mosque should pray in the mosque. So there is nothing new here.
How much awareness did you create for your followers?
Yes, I have told them during the previous Hutuba (sermon) when the curfew was imposed in the state, to obey the directives of the state government. In my sermon, I enlightened them to follow all the health guidelines presented by experts such as washing of the hands with soap and using sanitiser; avoiding crowds and what have you. Apart from that, as a mosque, we have made use of the radio and television to reach our audience. We have presented many programmes to that effect including the social media like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And our major thrust of the Hutuba is for every Muslim to remain at home. They should be law abiding. All the mosques in the state capital and its environs have been closed down and we have complied with the directives.
With the recent developments, how has the social and physical distancing affected you?
Mosques are closed so the proximity among those attending prayers in these mosques is no longer there. But let us assume, the government directs that people should not be above 20 in number, so if that should be the case, every person coming to pray in the mosque should give a gap like one meter. We are taking our own instructions from the medical personnel because in lslam you have to respect other people’s field. So what they said is what we are going to implement. It is their field. They know about the existence of the coronavirus and the measures to be taken, the prevention and other stuff. So, we scholars are taking advice from the medical people and then we enlighten our people about what we learn from them. Islam protects every life and property of every human being. So, let us assume that the people are allowed to come to the mosque, the medical personnel advice that we should give one meter gap during prayers is what we are going to implement. But now we are already on a lock down. There is no more congregational prayers not to talk of distancing ourselves.
Sir, some Islamic scholars were of the view that this coronavirus is a sign that the world is gradually coming to an end. What is your view?
No. You know Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had said that there are 10 signs that will show us that the end of the world has come. Of course, the coronavirus is a sign but a minor sign. So the major signs of the hour have not yet surfaced. Among the major signs are the coming of Prophet Isa (Jesus Christ), appearance of Mahdi, eclipse, a smoke that will cover this world, the appearance of yajoji and wama joji, an animal like camel that will diffenriate between believers and non believers. We have 10 signs that will first surface on the earth before the hour. It is not yet. But we can say the outbreak of the coronavirus is a sign but a minor sign.
What appeal do you have for the people during this crisis?
My appeal to our people is they should be law-abiding and obey the instructions imposed by the government. Because in Islam, obeying instruction is allowed, if it does not contradict Allah’s instructions and Sharia. It is compulsory to obey the laws because Allah appoints who He wishes as leader. So, it is the duty of every leader to protect the lives and property of the people because if he dies he’s going to account for his deeds on the day of judgement. The holy Prophet (SAW) had made us to understand that every leader will give an account on how he led his people. So, I am appealing to every Muslim not to violate the rules. Secondly, they should abide and follow the instructions of ulamas. The ulamas are calling on the people to accept the fact that this coronavirus is from Allah. Despite who created it, it is from Allah. If Allah didn’t wish it, it would not happen, no matter how the world unites to make it happen, they will fail. Let us believe from our inner hearts that this coronavirus is from Allah. And the cure is from Allah too. Let us recite the morning and evening duas. Supplications prescribed by the Prophet (SAW). There are many supplications, preventive supplications etc. I am calling on government too to provide assistance to people as the lockdown has forced everyone to remain at home. Many people would have to go out to look for what to eat. So, let the government do something about these people . We have the vulnerable ones too. Wealthy individuals, corporate bodies, charitable organisations should also assist. If you are more comfortable than your neighbours too, you should assist them. Allah will bless everyone who helps others. We are praying for journalists too. May Allah reward you for the excellent work you have been doing since the outbreak of the virus in the country. May God bless you all and reward you abundantly both in this world and the hereafter.