Nigeria: As We Enter Ramadan...

Nigeria: As We Enter Ramadan...

Nigeria: As We Enter Ramadan...

The Muslim faithful all over the world know that the Holy Qur'an was revealed in the month of Ramadan. It was revealed on the night of Laylatul Qadr which is described in the Qur'an as better than a thousand months. The month of Ramadan is therefore a special month in which Muslims try to outdo one another in good deeds and supplication to almighty Allah.

The Ramadan fast is a leveller. Staying away from food, water, sexual enjoyment and sinful speech and behaviour from dusk to dawn by every Muslim of every class creates the consciousness of the fact that before Allah everyone is equal. Thus says the holy book: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious). /(Fast) for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (i.e. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a needy person (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know." (Qur'an 2:183-84)

Ramadan presents an opportunity for the rich to experience and appreciate the deprivations the poor face; it presents a golden opportunity for sins to be forgiven and good rewarded over and over again! Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, improvement and increased devotion and worship. But the fasting Muslim must obey Allah unconditionally to so qualify and not carry out an effort in futility -- enjoying neither the spiritual nor the physical benefits of the fast.

Praying as prescribed takes us away from sin. Giving to the needy teaches us compassion and makes us conscious of the fact that his riches amount to nothing if not used in the service of humanity. The most often neglected lessons of Ramadan remain the total submission of self to Allah (SWT), patience, perseverance and the consciousness of death as an end whose time remains undeterminable. Muslims who are conscious of this will not be associated with looting, electoral malpractice, misappropriation, mediocrity, banality, indecency and terrorism.

It is possible to have a Nigeria without treasury looting, without inflation of contracts and kick-backs, without kidnapping, where scholarship opportunities will go to the deserving and not the "connected", where the downtrodden are in the daily focus of leaders, and where government keeps promises. This Ramadan is another opportunity for national growth and development.

We should not waste it.

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