Date: 1st Ramadan, 1436 AH
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the leadership of its President General, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, mni CFR, felicitates with the entire Muslim Ummah on the auspicious occasion of the 1436 Ramadan.
Without doubt, the month of Ramadan is unique for many reasons. It is a month traditionally associated with prayers, peace, restraint, piety, reflection, charity, kindness, devotion and love. It is the month in which the gates of Paradise are open and the gates of Hell are closed.
Incidentally, the holy month this year coincides with a period Muslims and indeed all Nigerians,have every reason to thank Allah for His abundant blessings. The peaceful elections and the dramatic transition of power from one government to the other are a testimony to the fact that Allah answers prayers. All right-thinking Nigerians appreciate that what Nigeria witnessed this year, despite the frightening predictions and scary projections before the 2015 elections, was simply the grace of divine intervention.
The month of Ramadan as a period of forgiveness offers Nigerians an opportunity to forgive the unprecedented abuse unleashed on their collective humanity in the recent past and to forge ahead as one nation united by one destiny. It is an ample opportunity to foster the ideals of brotherhood and togetherness after some years of crude and institutionalised divide-and-rule tactics which resulted in unprecedented divisiveness, losses, of lives, property and reputation.
Ramadan offers a great moment for rejuvenation and renewal, of faith, of friendship, of relationships, of cooperation and of national unity regardless of religious, ethnic and political affiliations. We must take advantage of this moment in advancing the cause of God and our common humanity.
It was Shaykh Uthman dan Fodiyo who said he could live with kufrbut not with injustice. Though the Ummah might have suffered injustice of unimaginable proportions, the period of Ramadan is meant to re-commit ourselves to the Almighty Allah by showcasing the beauty of Islam to all through justice, forgiveness, kindness and love. “Surely, Allah enjoins justice, doing good (to others) and giving to the kindred and He forbids indecency, evil and rebellion. He admonishes you that you may be mindful.” (Q16:90).
Meanwhile, for those who Allah Has entrusted with leadership, we urge them to remember the favours of Allah on them when He answered the prayers of the oppressed, the maligned and the persecuted by granting them success. They should complement the prayers by being good and justify the expectations of Nigerians by being fair and just to all. They should be compassionate, disciplined and exemplary. They need to demonstrate competence and sense of mission.The campaign period of sloganeering has expired and only exemplary performance can retain and sustain the massive goodwill and support of the abused masses.
The NSCIA also urges fellow Nigerians to be inspired by the spirit of self-discipline that Ramadan engenders by shunning materialism and corruption. They should live modest lives of honour and integrity, drawing appropriate lessons from some of our leaders.
We enjoin Muslims to make a good use of Ramadan through increased productivity. This productivity will be achieved through watching less Television, avoiding over-eating, keeping offline except as demanded by duty and virtuous acts and reading much of the Qur’an, observing nawaafil and remembering Allah all the time.
While praying that Allah accept all our ‘Ibaadah, the Council wishes Muslims Ramadan Mubaarak and many happy returns.
Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede, OFR, FNIM, FNAL