Sultan, others urge prayer for Nigeria as Ramadan begins
As Muslims in the country begin their holy month of Ramadan today, they have been enjoined to pray for stability, peace and progress.
Ramadan, which heralds a month-long obligatory fasting, is the ninth in the Islamic lunar calendar and is described by the Almighty Allah as the best of the 12 months.
The yearly fasting during the month is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam. The month lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on when the crescent moon is visually sighted.
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, urged the Islamic faithful to pray for Nigeria to overcome all its challenges and take its rightful place in the comity of nations.
“The council prays that Allah spare our lives to witness this and many more Ramadan on the surface of the earth and give us the ability to carry out good deeds as much as possible in the month because of the multiple ability of its virtues and the blessings.
“We beseech all Muslims to be prayerful unto Allah, especially in the month (Ramadan), to help our nation in general and our leaders in particular to be able to overcome, once and for all, the seemingly intractable security challenges as epitomized in the Boko Haram insurgency and the upsurge of armed banditry, kidnapping and related crimes,” Sultan said in a statement.
The National Ameer (President) of the Muslims Congress, Alhaji Lukmon AbdurRaheem, who described Ramadan as a month of spiritual retreat, admonished all Muslims to partake in the activities and move away from indecency, sins and rancour.
“We should downplay ethnicity, religious bigotry and politics of bitterness. Those who have cases in court should go for reconciliation rather than becoming enemies of themselves. These are the things that Ramadan teaches us. It’s a month of abstinence. It is not about abstaining from eating or drinking alone, but from all bad actions, so as to receive the blessing of Almighty Allah,” he said.
Some Muslim women scholars advised their fellow faithful to be of good conduct during and after the Ramadan.
According to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report, they gave the advice yesterday in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, during the first edition of a Ramadan lecture organised by “Muslimah Connect”, a non-governmental organisation founded in 2018 by Hajia Zyna’ib Shittu to uplift the status of Muslim women in the society.
A lecturer at the Mass Communication Department, University of Ilorin, Dr. Saudat Abdulbaqi, said that “before someone could embark on a change, it is necessary to understand where he or she is coming from.”
“We need to review the past, compare it with the present and have a forecast for the future. It is very necessary for women to audit themselves. This self-auditing is crucial. In order to advance, you need to know what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.”
Abdulbaqi said it was very important for Muslim women to identify with three cardinal principles of life.
“The first is to remember that we came from Almighty Allah and He will hold us responsible for all our deeds, so we should not deceive ourselves, knowing full well what is right to be done.
“The second is that we are in this world to worship Almighty Allah, apart from the five pillars of Islam. Whatever good thing we do is an act of worship, and in our relationship with our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and anybody we come across, whatever we do, we will account for it.’’
According to the university teacher, the third principle of life is that all human beings shall return to the Almighty Allah, so we should be mindful of our behaviour.
“Instead of gossiping about others, fighting and planning evils, we should spend our time on doing good things, worshipping and asking for God’s mercy.
We come from Almighty Allah, we are in this world because of Him and we are going back to him at the end.
“We should forgive one another, live in peace and be responsible in every role we play in this world as we will account for everything in the hereafter,’’ Abdulbaqi said.
Another guest speaker, Hajia Bilqees Oladimeji, called on all Muslim women around the world to help each other during Ramadan and afterward, and give to people in need to make fasting easier for them.
“Be kind and generous if Allah has blessed you. Do not hide His Rahman and then remember your responsibilities as a woman, a sister, a wife, a mother and most importantly a Muslim.
“Our men should support their wives, sisters, In-laws; treat women with respect, love, kindness and give them what belongs to them. A woman cannot build a happy home alone. It is a collective effort.”
She urged the government to come up with women-friendly policies that will support a fair representation of women in governance and promote girl child education and empowerment programmes.
The Kaduna State branch of Nasru Lahi-l Fathi (NASFAT) also urged Muslims to pray fervently for the country to overcome its security challenges.
Speaking to newsmen during Kaduna NASFAT’s annual Tafsir for the month of Ramadan, the branch chairman, Muyideen Alimi Yusuf, said: “We are not encountering security challenges alone, but also economic challenges. The insecurity we are experiencing is a result of poor economy. We should be patient with our leaders.”
The Kaduna NASFAT’s imam, Maaruf Raji, in his sermon, urged Muslims to maintain good relationship with all and sundry, advising them to abide by the teachings of Islam during and after Ramadan.
The Sultan later yesterday declared today, Monday, as Ramadan 1, 1440 A.H.
He made the announcement via @moonsightingng, the official Twitter handle of the National Moon Sitting Committee of the NSCIA at exactly 8: 29 pm (Nigerian time).
Also, the Secretary-General of the NSCIA, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, confirmed the sighting of the new moon of Ramadan in
Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa and Yobe states.