In the name of Allah who states, “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-restraint (Al-taqwa)” Q2:183.
May the everlasting peace and blessings of Allah be upon His chosen servant, our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.
It is imperative at this juncture to assess the impact of fasting as it runs out. As the above verse clearly states, the rationale behind fasting is to achieve self-restraint, in other words, abstention from Allah’s prohibitions and adhering to His commands with the aim of gaining His pleasure. No doubt, if this worship is done accordingly, the much needed taqwa could positively impact our bedeviled nation with multiplier effects in the socio-economic aspect of life. Looking at the clearly stated objective, the need for self and societal appraisal cannot be overemphasised. With sincere commitment to fasting the messenger of Allah has highlighted the achievable mercies and blessings in the month, warning on the dangers of negligence regarding the same. It is good to ask ourselves as individual and collective levels; what impact did the fasting make in our lives? Does it make any difference in our individual and societal life? It is very important that we assess the validity of the fasting vis a vis the objective so as to check ourselves and society socially, morally and spiritually.
Ramadan is therefore, a unique opportunity for Muslims to get acquainted with the teachings of the noble Qur’an as highlighted by the prophet (S), especially in the traditional Qur’anic exegesis by Muslim scholars.
The validity of our fasting lies in maintaining the good works of the month, and in keeping more cordial relations with our immediate family, community and the country at large. Islam attaches a lot of importance to socio-political life.
The religion considers political power as a trust of Allah vested on its holders. As such, a leader with taqwa considers self a custodian of the people and the power, a trust he/she must sincerely guard. It is pertinent to emphasise the need for all office holders to think and work in this direction. They should know that Allah is aware of all that they do and nothing could be hidden from His vigilance. Abuse of power vividly attracts His wrath. The power holders therefore, should protect themselves from such annihilation. Should the president, governors and their cabinets, members of the upper and lower houses, political appointees and the local executives seriously take note by adhering to this, the story will be different and misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds will not be order of the day! Take lessons from your predecessors from among the dead, removed and retired, so that you may act uprightly and contribute your best to better the plight of the commons in aspiration of the mercy of Allah so as to leave behind a good legacy, instead of taking pride and competition in amassing public funds.
From the lessons of fasting, which taqwa emphasises in line with the Islamic economic system is Infaaq, free distribution of foodstuff and other means needed for sustenance. The Zakatul-fitr, relatively given from varieties of local consumables as equated given to the less privileged at the eve of Sallah ceremony serves as, and encourages humanitarian assistance to the poor and the destitute. On a general term, the Islamic economic system promotes flexible, fair and interest-free business transactions on trust, empowerment, cooperation and all philanthropic activities. Taqwa, therefore, must be strictly observed in our dealings at all levels.
The two sides of man described by the scholars are spiritual -a base level and his animal side, the human. The mission of the messengers was to save the spiritual side maintaining his dignity, morals and clear conscience freeing him from passion, anger and eagerness to stick to Allah’s commands and avoid His prohibitions. Hence, the need to grow the taqwa for the socio-economic stability of the society. In the light of this, one must think properly as an individual and make sure that he or she reflects on the numerous lessons of the month. This is very important as the society starts from individuals. Therefore, all significant aspects of worship such as prayers, Qur’anic recitation, different forms of remembrance and supplications should not be neglected. This helps a Muslim to keep a continuous relation with his/her creator for a prosperous life here and attainment of salvation hereafter. Living embodiment of taqwa results in self-control and conscience of Allah at all times, thereby needing neither the police nor any law enforcement agent to refrain from evils and embrace commands.
The unending corrupt practices faced by the country are not unconnected with the fact that taqwa is grossly lacking in the countrymen and women. Obviously, fear of Allah is the best deterrent to keep away from such evils. If people will keep away from evil acts because of the security agents, we may ask, what of the security agents themselves? In the name of guarding against corruption in Nigeria, successive governments established several commissions/agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and public code of conduct among others, but the question is, to what extent have these agencies achieved their goals? Unfortunately, many personnel were part of the corruption they were tasked to destroy! Corruption is generally accepted to be the root cause of all our problems in Nigeria despite the diverse resources and overwhelming populace the country is endowed with. Why are most people in the political and working class corrupt? They are very selfish as taqwa is lacking in them.
This is why we find ourselves in the embarrassing and lamentable situation that affects all sectors of our country life; the power sector, security, education, healthcare, agriculture, infrastructures and social justice to mention just a few. Although all over the world, every government is charged -through its officials- with the responsibility of putting things right, but what if the officials were the bedrock of the corruption itself? Allah forbid!
Looking at the significance and relevance of taqwa at this point when the world awaits re-appearance of Imam Mahdy (AF), the master of our age, a very important point cannot be overemphasised. Many authors from the school of Ahlul-bait have highlighted the obligations of believers in awaiting period. Among the famous were Ayatollah Sayyid, Kamal Faqih and Faadhil al-Furaaty. The obligations emphasised were; doctrinal aspect: absolute compliance with teachings of Islam: propagating the concept of Imam’s reappearance; acquaintance with the Imam; propagating related miracles and the Mahdy reform project.
The Mahdy reform project refers to deliverance of humanity and destruction of destroying tyrants by his advent. The philosophy is not to shed blood, but protect lives, promote the religion and work towards global reform and establishment of an upright, just and giant authority for the good of mankind. So, enjoining what is right and forbidding wrong at all ramifications – political, social and economic – are very much in line. In fact, the Imam will not reappear until he got enough helpers for the execution of his mission. It is obviously clear that the significance of struggle against injustice is very paramount. And whoever wishes to be part of the Imam’s army must be morally sound and compliant with the teachings of Ahlul-bait (AS). Imam Khomeini led the Islamic revolution and established the Islamic republic of Iran that can be a good base for the Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance). Resistance movements like the Hezbollah are also on the track. We are at the era of his reappearance, looking at the level of tyranny and oppression across the world. This is what all traditions about his advent foretell. Hence, the utmost need for the followers of Ahlul-bait to get themselves well prepared before he reappears for the divine assignment. No doubt, only the obedient followers will follow and help him in the divine assignment that will see to destruction of tyrants, establishment of ustice and actualisation of global rise of Islam.
We should therefore, work sincerely and devotedly as did Imam Khomeini (QS) whose work yielded the Islamic republic of Iran, which stands with the world oppressed irrespective of all racial, geographical and religious differences and challenges from the oppressors bullying the world. To the disciples of Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zakzaky (H), who is on the track of the late Imam, this point is very important for the freedom of the Sheikh and our bedeviled nation at large. At this juncture, I reiterate the need for all to embrace taqwa, the inevitable tool for self and societal reform as the popular saying goes, ‘fear of Allah is the beginning of wisdom.’
And with the pressing need of Sheikh el-Zakzaky’s health as revealed by the recent diagnosis of a team of experts, I wish to draw the attention of authorities for his unconditional release.
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