Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is here again. A month that is highly revered by Muslim faithful, Ramadan is marked by a month-long period of prayers, supplications, acts of charity and chastity. The most outstanding feature of Ramadan is that Muslim adults who are not infirmed by either age or ill health are obliged to abstain from eating or drinking from dawn to sun set. As has been the practice since the advent of the Islamic religion several centuries ago, a significant segment of the Nigerian population will be joining Muslim faithful the world over in the observance of this Holy Month.
It is significant to Nigeria in several ways: it is important to note that a huge number of our compatriots will be engaged in this act of spiritual rejuvenation. Beyond this fact, this year’s Ramadan is coming at a time when the country is embroiled in a number of challenges that range from unrepentant militants struggling for relevance having been subdued by the military, the not too comforting scenario of irredentist agitations in some sections of the country to the fact that the economy is yet to come out of recession. There is also the issue of unending bloody clashes between farmers and herders, the phenomenon of increasing incidences of kidnapping for ransom and the ever present cases of armed robbery. Of course, Nigeria is also at this moment faced with the challenge of a president who is battling with his health.
It goes therefore without saying, that this year’s Ramadan should be regarded as an opportunity for the Islamic faithful to intensify their acts of devotion and supplication to the Almighty Allah for his mercies and intervention in the resolution of the myriad challenges before our nation. We need Allah for sure, to help us in overcoming the sources of threat to our security, peace and tranquility. We need Allah to help us avert the possibilities of our further pulling apart as a people. We certainly need Allah and we must intensify our supplication to Him to aid in efforts of turning our economy around.
It is gratifying that during the Lent season, our Christian compatriots were very strident in their prayers for President Muhammadu Buhari’s health. We are confident that this will be further intensified by the Muslims during this month of Ramadan. Indeed, there is credence in the popular belief that Nigerians are amongst the most religious people on earth. There is also the fact that when the chips are down and, in spite of all, Nigerians have a number of common fronts where ideas and energies converge.
We also appeal to Muslim clerics who will be delivering sermons at ‘Tafsirs’, to put emphasis on the translation of the Quran, the Muslim Holy Book, on the Islamic injunctions on peace, good neighbourliness, brotherhood and citizenship. We make this appeal in our knowledge that Islam, whose meaning is peace, is a religion that if practiced in its true sense and tenets, abhors violence and most of the negative indulgencies and practices that today constitute our problems.
We also, in the same vein, wish to appeal to our merchants or traders to have the fear of Allah by not hiking prices of goods and commodities that are usually in high demand during the month of Ramadan. It is a saddening fact that while in most countries of the world their counterparts lower prices as an act of charity to fellow Muslims, our traders here seize the opportunity of this glorious month to skyrocket the prices of their wares. This is against the Islamic aversion to ‘Ribba’ which translates to mean excessive, unwarranted and ungodly profiteering. Let us turn a new leaf in our ways.To our Muslim compatriots, Ramadan Kareem.