We wish all our Muslim brothers and sisters a happy fasting and pray that God will, in His infinite mercies, accept our collective prayers and heal our country Nigeria.
On Thursday June 18, Muslims in Nigeria joined their counterparts around the world to commence this year’s Ramadan fast, following the declaration by the President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is believed to be the holiest month of the year within Islam – the month in which Allah revealed the Quran, which is the ultimate guide to Islam and all Muslims, to the Prophet Muhammad. It is obligatory for Muslims to fast in the month of Ramadan as instructed by the Quran because fasting is one of the five pillars (duties) of Islam.
It is believed that when Muslims pray and fast during this period, they attain forgiveness of sins, mercy and blessings from Allah, beyond those of any other month. As explained by some Islamic clerics, the real purpose of fasting is to attain righteousness by eschewing evil. We therefore enjoin all Nigerians to identify with our Muslim brothers and sisters who in obedience to the injunctions of the Quran are carrying out this religious obligation to attain righteousness. As they rededicate themselves to prayers and introspection during this period, we pray that the state of righteousness attained should be applied to their daily lives all through the year.
This year’s Ramadan could not have come at a more auspicious time than now when Nigeria is seeking the face of God to raise men and women of good character to move the country to a greater height politically, socially, economically, and morally. Righteousness, as espoused by most religions, exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to the people. We therefore enjoin Muslims, and indeed all Nigerians, to embrace the opportunity of spiritual rejuvenation offered by Ramadan to commit themselves to the cause of building a righteous nation for this and coming generations.
We urge all Nigerians to heed the admonition of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in his heartfelt Ramadan message. The former President enjoined all Nigerians to join adherents of the Islamic faith in prayers for the peace and prosperity of Nigeria, and also reflect on the virtues taught by Prophet Mohammed which include increased worship of Allah,concern for the less privileged in society, and introspection for the purpose of character development. The Sultan of Sokoto also implored the Muslim faithful to offer fervent prayers for the new leadership in Nigeria to succeed in steering the affairs of the country. He equally enjoined them to continue to live peacefully with one another and all Nigerians irrespective of religious and tribal differences.
While wishing Muslims across the country a happy fasting, The UNION also enjoins them to tow the path of righteousness at all times and work tirelessly towards redeeming Islam known as a religion of peace but mindlessly abused by fanatics such as Boko Haram who perpetrate carnage and all kinds of murderous atrocities in the name of Islam while pursuing their agenda. All Nigerians are duty bound to tackle this menace and all acts of wickedness, corruption, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, fraud, rape, and all evil acts that have stunted the growth of the nation over the years.Charity and generosity is especially urged during Ramadan.
The lesson in this is for us as Nigerians to identify with and be committed to alleviating the suffering of others. This entails sacrifice of even our own comfort. The decisions we make daily in life demands that we give up a bit of our resources, comfort, and time for the good of others. The act of corruption and grabbing what belongs to the commonwealth for personal benefits should be eschewed. It is sad that even though God has endowed the country with abundant human, material and natural resources, corrupt and inept leadership has condemned the people to a life of suffering in the midst of plenty.
Nigeria is in need of leaders who are imbued with the virtues of patriotism, modesty, honesty, justice, fairness, and an altruistic sense of responsibility. We, therefore, implore all our leaders at the federal, state, and local government levels to reflect on the significance of Ramadan and be genuinely committed to the growth of the nation and the wellbeing of her people. Similarly we call on Nigerians to use the period of the holy month to supplicate for the peace, unity and progress of the country. We wish all our Muslim brothers and sisters a happy fasting and pray that God will, in His infinite mercies, accept our collective prayers and heal our country Nigeria.