This followed the announcement last night by Sultan of Sokoto Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III that the crescent for the Islamic lunar month of Shawwal was sighted in many parts of the country.
Muslims in the past four weeks, as the Islamic injunction requires them to do, have lived a life of moderation and self-denial, refraining from negative conducts and other acts that run contrary to the teachings of the Islamic faith. Ramadan, as usual, is a period when Muslims seek closer ties with Allah through diverse acts of worship that include charity, recitation of the Qur’an, observance of prayers at night, and seeking forgiveness of their sins.
The end of Ramadan should not mean an end to the virtues of benevolence, good neighbourliness and tolerance which in the last one month characterized the private and public life of Muslims. The injunction to share with others during Ramadan even the little that was available to us is an entreaty to eschew selfishness, greed and covetousness, which are evils that have continued over the years to hamper the development of the self and the Nigerian society. Similarly, people should not consider the end of Ramadan as a welcome opportunity to go back to old habits. With the end of this year’s Ramadan, celebration of the Eid el-Fitr should be done in moderation as a practical expression of its lessons.
Nigerian Muslims should on the occasion of this year’s Eid el-Fitr pray for their leaders to be guided to the right path, and to be imbued with the wisdom and the capacity needed to bring about good governance. The leadership of the country has repeatedly let the nation down in critical times. The Eid el-Fitr is a period for leaders to reflect on the state of the nation and strive to fulfil their obligation of making the living conditions of Nigerians better than what it is at the moment. Leaders should lead by examples and be sensitive to the aspirations of citizens to decent life, good education for children, clean and portable water, constant and affordable power supply, and good prospects for employment especially of graduates and skilled workers.
One way to societal regeneration is through individual commitment to the holy injunctions of the Ramadan, as through piety individuals will be transformed into better persons able to distinguish between good and evil which in turn enables us to undertake right and proper action, whose total impact on society is to change for the better for the benefit of all of us.
Those entrusted with power should exercise it for the common good of the people they lead, which in specific terms should translate into the provision of basic amenities and infrastructure that will improve their living conditions. Conversely, on the part of the ruled, what is expected is obedience to law and order to enable everyone to go about his/her business peacefully. Further in the spirit of the season, Muslims should uphold the virtue of peaceful co-existence with adherents of other faiths and re-commit themselves to the pursuit of religious tolerance and societal rebirth.
Insecurity has remained one of the greatest challenges facing the country in the past few years. The occasion of this year’s Eid el-Fitr should be used to offer special prayers seeking the Almighty’s divine intervention to bring the long-standing insecurity of lives and property in different parts of the country to a peaceful end. We encourage government to continue to explore all non-violent options including dialogue to engage insurgent groups with a view to ending the crisis.
We wish all Nigerians Barka Da Sallah and a joyful hitch-free celebration!