COVID-19 Lockdown: Chief Imam appeals to govt to lift ban on religious activities
By Damilola Kushimo
The Chief Imam of Isolo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Alhaji Olanrewaju Sodiq has explained that the continuous ban on Jumat prayer and other religious activities may have more severe effects on the society, urging the government to relax the prohibition of religious activities.
He noted that as the lockdown has already had negative effects on economy even with the relaxation of the lockdown, the effect especially on the society may be higher without spiritualism if religious activities continue to be halted in the course of the ongoing fight against Coronavirus pandemic.
The chief Imam explained that congregational prayers are compulsory despite the pandemic.
He said people could still gather to worship together, claiming that continuous prohibition of religious gathering has proven not to be the ideal thing, making reference to the partial opening of markets.
He said: “The continuous restriction on religious activities, even during the holy month of Ramadan is a sheer disbelief of our government on the effect of prayers and intercession by religious leaders with God. Our nation has endured other disasters till this time not only by the human efforts of our government but the grace of God and fervent prayers of the religious leaders.
“This is the 9th week major religious activities have been suspended and with this, the number of cases keeps increasing, terrifyingly. It is high time government eased the prohibition on religious activities to allow us pray to Allah collectively. This can be done with enforcement of social distancing and other hygienic measures.
“With great belief in Almighty Allah, we will get over this pandemic but, has our government considered the negative effects of the weeks we’ve not been able to help sustain the consciousness of some community residents to Allah’s words; His commandments, the need do away with social vices like stealing, adultery and so on?
“No doubt, many people would have seen reasons to relax or backslide from worshiping Allah during this time not because of the pandemic but for the fact that there were no means to observe the five times daily prayers, Jum’at service and other important congregational service especially during this Ramadan to reach out to them.
“Even if the government will make it a gradual process, starting with a particular area first, let them consider easing the prohibition, let people come together to pray to Allah to intercede for humanity’s sake.”
Meanwhile, he advised Islamic faithfuls to continue their compliance with government’s directives, warning them against holding Itikaf and Lailatul-quadr during the last ten days of Ramadan.
“During this time, especially the last 10 days of this holy month, we can’t observe lailatul-quadr not even seclusion in mosque (itikaf) but they can be done in our homes as the situation has made it to be. Meanwhile, let’s reach out to those in need. Let’s show concern for the welfare of our neighbours, family, religious leaders and everyone around us, that’s one of the ways to get greater reward from Allah,” he admonished.