The Zaria branch of Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’a Wa’iqamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS), has sacked an Imam for complying with Kaduna State Government ban on congregational prayers.
The Imam, Malam Abubakar Sarki-Aminu, has been leading prayers at Sheik Abubakar Mahmood Gumi Juma’at Mosque, Kofar Gayan Low-cost, Zaria for almost 40 years.
NAN reports that Sheik Sani Yakubu, the JIBWIS Chairman, confirmed the issue on Friday in Zaria, but declined further comment.
The mosque’s Chairman, Alhaji Shehu Dan-Maikuli, who spoke on his behalf, explained that prior to the removal of the Imam, there were some issues.
“After the resolution, it was agreed that the Imam should be organizing monthly committee meetings to discuss problems and prospects of the Mosque, but after that resolution, we spent over four years without a single meeting.
“When this issue of coronavirus came, one day, the Imam stood up after leading Zuhur prayer and announced that from that day he had suspended congregational prayers until the issue was over.
“When I came for Asr prayer, I was told that the Imam ordered for closure of the Mosque. I called him on the phone to enquire and he said yes he had ordered that the Mosque be closed,” he said.
Dan-Maikuli added that the Imam neither consulted him being the chairman, nor other members of the committee before taking the decision.
He said that they reported the case to the Chairman, JIBWIS, Zaria Local Government, who came on Wednesday and led Isha (night) prayer and thereafter announced the sack of the Imam and replaced him with Malam Ahmad Tijjani.
But the sacked Imam said he stopped congregational prayers with respect to government directives.
“The State Government declared that henceforth Juma’at prayer is banned and any gathering above 50 people should be suspended.
“Our Mosque usually witnesses a very large crowd of worshippers, as such, we have to comply with the directives given by Gov. Nasiru el-Rufa’i to avoid the spread of the disease.
“I stood up after leading a congregational prayer to tell the people that in view of the order by the state government, I have suspended congregational prayers in the mosque until the ban is lifted,” he said.
The Imam said that some people then reported him to the JIBWIS Chairman.
Sarki-Aminu said; “My deputy Imam called me on the phone that Sheik Sani Yakuba ordered that we should continue with the congregational prayers, that I should come out for Subhi (dawn) prayer.
“I replied to him that, if the chairman wants me to continue with the congregational prayers, let him formally write to me so that I will be convinced that his order supersedes that of the government.
“I waited without anything to that effect, later I learned that the chairman came and led a congregational Isha’i prayer and announced my removal and replacement.”
On the allegation that he did not consult the Mosque committee before the closure, Sarki-Aminu observed that whenever the government gives directives “then who else will give a counter-directive?
“In an ideal situation, Imam is the leader of the Mosque, the committee did not enquire from me but they decided to go straight to Sheik Sani Yakubu and he used his power and reopened the Mosque and subsequently announced my removal.”