All that was
way before terms like diversity, multicultural, multireligious and
tolerance became trendy in Europe and America. The land where such
peaceful and joyous communion reigned was Nigeria and the period,
not long ago, was before the Christians started seeing Satan
everywhere and saying “I reject it” or “I am strong” and Muslims
started feeling the need to wear long beard, dress like middle
easterners and competing for Sundays with Christians.
By the way,
it must be said that what guided the behaviors of the peaceful
religious era in Nigeria was not tolerance but wisdom. Those
Nigerians were wise enough to see humanity in all religions; they
were capable of reminding themselves that they all worshiped the
same God via different formats. They were wise enough to believe
that all religious festivals and events were to be celebrated by
anyone alive and that whoever is alive, regardless of his or her
professed creed can reap the blessings and hopes that the prayers
and rituals of the celebrated religion can bring.
all over the world start their thirty days of fasting, part of our
simple hopes is that everyone everywhere should wish all the Muslims
they know or meet a blessed Ramadan (Ramadan Mubarak) and a noble
Ramadan (Ramadan Kareem).
We also hope
that those fasting and indeed those around them will truly discover
a fuller meaning of Ramadan, which as we are often reminded is one
of the five pillars of Islam. I personally also like to remember
that according to Islamic theology, “the night of power” (Lailut
ul-Qadr) was during the month of Ramadan. That was the night the
holy Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God, was
believe that the month of Ramadan is filled with blessings, heaven
knows that Nigeria and indeed the world needs a lot of it right now
and it is our fervent hope that everyone can share from the
blessings that these fasting and prayers will bring. Due to the
nature of Ramadan, there are some blessings and some simple hopes
that Muslims can help Nigerians fulfill in the next thirty days.
intended to teach Muslims to reflect and practice self discipline
and self-restraint. It will be great blessings for Nigeria if in the
next thirty days our Muslim public officials can really follow the
requirements of Ramadan and truly refrain from looting or wasting
the country’s treasury they have the privilege and duty of managing
for all. Imagine how blessed we shall be if for the next thirty days
all the Muslims in the country, from the policemen on our roads to
politicians and other public officers from our local governments way
up to Abuja decide to fully follow Ramadan and truly refrain from
asking and taking bribes. Imagine what will happen if because of
them Nigerians of other religions followed suit.
also a time Muslims are asked to remember and reflect on the
suffering of the poor. In the next thirty days, those Muslims
charged with the duty of managing the affairs of the country have
the opportunity of individually reflecting on the plight of the
poor, they have the challenge of bringing together other Muslims in
the same spirit to come up with cogent plans to truly deal with the
situation of the poor.
blessing it would be for the country if matters of health,
education, unemployment and infrastructures are treated by those
truly moved by the spirit of Ramadan.
In the next
thirty days of fasting, Muslims are also asked to be generous, as a
people, one thing Nigerians, rich or poor, can rarely be accused of
is tightfistedness, on the contrary the practice is to be generous
to a fault. Unlike elsewhere though, Nigerians tend to be generous
only to individuals, without stopping that, it might just be great
if as a people we start being generous also to causes, institutions
needs its Muslims to start giving more of their time, energy and
intelligence to help deal with its many problems and weakness. The
country needs people who are willing to serve and to give just
because they believe and because they are generous.
During the next thirty days, our simple hope is that the Muslims
from today take the lead to bless Nigeria. Ramadan Kareem to all.