All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the universe. May His peace and blessings be upon the noble Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), his faithful companions and dutiful followers till the end of time. Amin.
We are happy and grateful to Almighty Allah for enabling us to start and end the glorious month of Ramadan in peace, good health and prosperity. We cannot thank Him enough for His enormous blessings since He is indeed a merciful and compassionate God. Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an:
Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me. (Q2:152).
We commiserate with people in all parts of the Muslim world, whether here in Nigeria or abroad, who have not been opportune to observe the fast in a conducive atmosphere of tranquillity, harmony and prosperity. We pray that Allah will heal their land by stopping the hostilities there and also provide abundance for them so that next year’s Ramadan will be so much better than it has been this year.
Our sincere thanks also go to the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Abubakar Saad, for the leadership he has been providing for Muslims all over the nation. His good leadership culminated in the setting up of a moon sighting committee that has put paid to the haphazard way that some sections of the Muslim populace begin and end the Ramadan fast.
For some years now, Muslims have begun and ended the Ramadan fast with a unity of purpose that is beginning to materialise in deeper co-operation amongst Muslim organisations.
The Muslim populace stands commended for adhering to the leadership of the Sultan. Once we continue along this path, we will begin to reap the many wonderful benefits brought about by unity of purpose and brotherhood while at the same time heeding the admonition of Allah in the Glorious Qur’an.
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah, and be not divided…” (Q3:103)
We have just undergone a superlative retreat leading to spiritual, physical and mental rebirth. We have thus sharpened our spiritual, physical and mental capacities for a period of 29 days. We have learnt dedication, sincerity of purpose, forbearance, persistence, accountability, good time management and good neighbourliness amongst others.
We must therefore be determined to change the narrative of our country for good for we have been imbued with all the qualities that we need for a peaceful, prosperous and progressive nation.
Using our developed capacities to execute new paradigms in nation-building is the game changer that we need. The month-long training would be in vain if we fail to bring about the desired positive changes in our individual lives, in the lives of our families and in our societal life. Let us boycott all evils and embrace everything good just as we have done in the last month.
Mental and spiritual renewals, rather than political restructuring alone, remain the abiding solutions to the numerous challenges we encounter as a nation.
Now, the change has just begun!
We call on our brothers from the South-East to follow constitutional means in their agitation for Biafra even though we believe they stand a better chance in the present geographical expression if they join hands to heal the nation of its present challenges.
Hate speeches, especially the one giving the Igbos a quit notice from the North, stand condemnable and unjustified. All hate speeches must be replaced with speeches that emphasise the collective values that bind us together.
We must realise that ethnicity and religion are not the problems of the nation but rather the poor quality of leadership that has persisted for decades. In the spirit of the season, let us show love, compassion, care and consideration to one another.
All hands must be on deck to repair the nation. The contribution of everyone is important whether you are a politician, businessman, professional, artisan or ordinary Nigerian.
As we go about celebrating in the festive period, let caution and moderation be our watchword. Let us spread the joy and happiness by sharing what we have with neighbours and well-wishers. We should not forget the needy and the orphans since they also need to partake in the festivity. Let us shower them with love and gifts.
The on-going blockade of Qatar by some of the Gulf States calls for caution and concern because of the disruptions in the economy, travel, livelihood, education, family and relationships.
It is important that this crisis does not infringe on the relative peace enjoyed in the Middle East.
We urge Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to come to a round table and settle their differences as one indivisible people bound by one religion, language and ethnicity, under the instrumentality of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
This is why the role played by Kuwait in mediating the crisis is indeed commendable. We urge the states involved to exercise caution and proper discretion by allowing their deliberations to be guided by the dictates of Allah and the tradition of the noble Prophet of Islam of Islam, Muhammad (SAW).
This crisis must be resolved as a matter of urgency in order to stop the sufferings encountered and to make sure that the divisions so caused do not leave permanent scars.
Once again, we congratulate everyone on the successful completion of Ramadan. We pray that Allah accepts our worship and prepares for us a special abode in Jannatul Firdaus. Amin.
Long live the Muslim Ummah!
Long live the Federal Republic!
Iman Luqman AbdurRaheem, PhD.