The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, felicitates with the entire Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and all over the world on the auspicious occasion of the new 1441 Hijrah Year.
While thanking Allah for sparing our lives throughout 1440 A. H. and making us witness the beginning of the New Year, we pray that He make this new beginning a turning point in our lives as individuals and as a people so that at the end of the year, we shall be counting gains, not losses, and successes, not failures.
One significance of the New Hijrah Year is the opportunity it accords a Muslim to turn a new leaf, set his priorities right and evaluate himself as a way of preparing for the Judgement Day. As a matter of fact, Hijrah connotes migrating from what is evil and despicable to what is good and righteous. This should be the resolve of every Muslim as the New Year begins.
This year’s Hijrah New Year message is anchored on the theme, “A FRESH START”, with the hope that it will engender a positive paradigm shift from disbelief to belief, hypocrisy to sincerity, lethargy to activeness, conflict to peace and ma’siyah (sinfulness) to taa’ah (obedience) among us. The hope is that Allah will bring about positive changes in the affairs of Muslims and the whole country at large.
Meanwhile, Allah has unequivocally averred that He would not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition or attitudes (Q.13:11). It therefore behooves Muslims to return sincerely to Allah with a view to making themselves better than they were before now. It is also an opportunity for the faithful to renew their faith in Allah, in spite of the plethora of challenges facing the Ummah, because as Allah says in the Glorious Qu’ran, “Surely, with difficulty is ease” (Q94:6).
While we appreciate the military and the security agencies for the sacrifices they are making in serving and preserving our dear country, we use this medium to urge them to nip our security challenges in the bud by focusing more on intelligence gathering and engaging more in functional inter-agency synergy, instead of what appears as unhealthy inter-agency rivalry. There should be a firm commitment by them to stamp out banditry and kidnapping and extirpate terrorism and other forms of insecurity from our land. They should make a fresh start in this regard and engage in deep soul-searching.
Also, the Council calls on the new Ministers especially those handling economic portfolios to focus on policies and programmes that will translate to reality the economic and social objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal Government, in a way that will impact positively on the lives of the ordinary Nigerians. As leaders, they, just like our Governors and legislators, should appreciate that their core responsibilities lie in protecting people, promoting their wellbeing and providing for them.
Muslims in particular and Nigerians in general must continue to be patriotic and loyal to the country as Nigeria is the only country that we have. We must be committed to making Nigeria work not just because of today but also because of the future of our children. The ship of Nigeria must not sink and it is our collective responsibility to play our parts in this regard.
Finally, as we mark the end of one epoch and the beginning of another, let us not forget to pray and work for a better Nigeria that we can all be proud of. We must continue to contribute our quota to the development of our country in our various capacities so that Nigeria shall regain her rightful position in the community of world countries as the giant of Africa.
Let us change and be “the change that we want to see” happen in Nigeria. Let us make a fresh start in the way we do things in Nigeria. Let us translate the vast potentials of our country to reality. The time to start is now.
May the Almighty Allah spare our lives and grant us the wisdom and resolve to right our wrongs.
Happy Hijrah New Year!
Kullu ‘aamin wa antum bikhayrin.
Prof. Salisu Shehu
Deputy Secretary-General, NSCIA