But while many of us are perhaps observing Ramadan relatively comfortably, many others here in Nigeria and other countries are passing through trying times, and this Ramadan may pass without happiness passing through them, or they through happiness. For them, we recite Inna lilLahi wa inna ilaiHi raji’un’! (From Allah we come, and to Him shall we return!), and pray that Allah compensate them for their suffering, now and in the hereafter. And if it is human-inflicted, may He, the Qahhar, take charge.
In Nigeria, the people of Maiduguri and Damaturu have been tried almost daily. In these cities, murders and killings have become almost routing, and children have grown used to the sound of gunfire. Most means of livelihood have been stifled, and people have been forced to remain indoors for most hours of the day, not to talk of the night. For the people of Maiduguri and Damaturu, their Ramadan is one of great persevering in suffering. Let us pray that Allah change their situation for better, and soon, amin.
For the Muslims of Jos and the Plateau, apart from the sufferings inflicted on them over time, the recent floods earlier this Ramadan have only added further calamities. Scores have died and many more may still be missing. On the ethnic/religious crises, now that the guns have fallen silent and leaders of both communities have parleyed with the nation’s President, it is our prayer and hope that the end of the killings has come. For the people of Jos, let us pray that Allah change their situation for better, and soon, amin.
For us in Kano, recite for us Inna lilLahi wa inna ilaiHi raji’un’! For the first time in our history, even I’itikaf has been haram’ed! For those who know not I’itikaf, it is the retreat we take to mosques during the last ten days of Ramadan. It is the closest Muslims can ever come to monastery/convent living. I’itikaf is a time for intense devotion and abandonment of worldly affairs. But this Ramadan, because of security fears, they say, Now We Can’t Even I’itikaf! (as, you may remember, we can’t even buy yam at Tafa!). Add this to the second biggest calamity (after the loss of lives) that has befallen Kano; the loss of businesses and jobs. For us in Kano, we ask all of you to pray for us; may Allah change our situation for better, and soon, amin.
And then to Kaduna and Plateau. This coming week, the Great Migration to the North will start. This is the exodus of far-Northern Muslims from Abuja and points south to their home states for Sallah (akin to the Great Migration to the South when millions of Southern Christians leave the North for home during Christmas). Millions of North Western Muslims will travel with their families, heading for Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa and northern Kaduna. All of us will pass through Gonin Gora, which straddles our only North-West Corridor. Similarly, millions more of our people will take the North-East Corridor through Jos and Riyom, when North Eastern Muslims travel to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Gombe and parts of Plateau.
We need not repeat here what crises have done to travellers on these Corridors of Gonin Gora and Riyom. So we want to be assured that we shall travel in peace and tranquillity. Therefore, oveer to the Nigerian President, the Governors of Kaduna and Plateau, the Sultan of Sokoto and the Shehu of Borno (with whom and Emir of Fika we commiserate on the recent attempt on their lives).
And then on to China. Inna lilLahi wa inna ilaiHi raji’un’! The Muslim people of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are being banned from observing the Ramadan fast, as it has been done for several years. A Chinese government statement, which was posted on the government website, advised [Communist] party leaders to bring “gifts” of food to their local village leaders to certify that they were eating during Ramadan, and advising schools to ensure that students eat during the day and do not enter any mosques during the 30-day holy month.
Muslim sources report that at a college in Muslim-dominated far north-western China, students were last year irritated to find that their professors were escorting them to lunch during Ramadan. The college wanted to make sure that the Muslim students were eating rather than fasting in daylight hours during the holy month of Ramadan. Then something even stranger happened, the students said. When Ramadan ended, launching the three-day Eid al-Fitr feast, all the restaurants and the cafeteria on campus were shut down and students were barred from leaving the campus, unable to leave for home to celebrate with their families.
The Muslim ethnic minority in the Xinjiang region continues to suffer from China’s religious and political persecution. Interestingly enough, Chinese Christians do NOT suffer the same fate! And you ask; where are the Human Rights screamers? Where is the United Nations? Indeed, where is the so-called Muslim World League (Rabita) which only specialises in providing blankets for people who need bullets?
And then to Myamar (Burma), and the Rohingya Muslims. For them, it is Inna lilLahi wa inna ilaiHi raji’un’! (recited several times). The Internet is awash with stories of the suffering of these Muslim people. While in China it is the Godless Communists inflicting the suffering, in Burma it is the Buddhists, the same people who claim to be intrinsically peaceful, and have the Dalai Lama to show for it, that massacre and rape the hapless Muslim Rohingyas. Even that Myanmar victim of political high-handedness, Aung San Suu Kyi, has done nothing for her fellow-sufferers.
Equally to blame is neighbouring Muslim Bangladesh, which is not doing nearly enough to welcome their brothers and sisters in faith. If you are in London today (Saturday August 11), join the Hizb ut-Tahrir (hizb.org.uk) to picket the Bangladesh Embassy (at 28 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5JA) at 2pm to protest Bangladesh’s inaction to save and protect Muslim Rohingyas.
As for Muslims at the Olympics, we hear Ramadan has been waived for many. Well, what do you know? The games of Zeus, complete with its eternal torch (and may Allah save us from His own eternal torch) seems to have triumphed. Since late Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba waived Ramadan for his footballers back in 1978 as they participated in the 1978 FIFA World Cup, waiving Ramadan has become fashionable. One wonders what next will be waived!
And may we witness Lailatul Qadr.