AS Nigerian Muslims join their counterparts all over the world to begin this year’s Ramadan fasting, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday charged them to promote peace and unity in all their endeavours.
President Jonathan’s charge came as eminent Islamic scholars asked sponsors of violence in the country, especially those behind the Boko Haram insurgency, to use the opportunity of the holiness of the month, to repent and seek forgiveness from Allah.
Jonathan urged Muslims to use the opportunity of the Ramadan to pray for the stability and progress of Nigeria.
In a statement by Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan prayed that God Almighty will grant the prayers of Nigerians during Ramadan and reward the entire nation with multiple blessings as well as greater peace, security, political stability, unity and faster socio-economic development.
The full statement reads: “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan greets all Muslims in Nigeria as they join the global Islamic community to begin this year’s Ramadan fasting. As they start the annual month-long fast which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, President Jonathan urges all Nigerian Muslims to offer special prayers during the period for peace, stability and progress in the country.
“Noting that the Ramadan fast teaches Muslims to practice piety, self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, tolerance, justice, fairness and empathy for the less fortunate in society, the President calls on all Nigerian adherents of the Islamic faith to reflect on these edifying lessons as they fast and make them a greater part of their daily lives to promote peaceful co-existence and greater unity among the diverse groups in Nigeria.
“Against the background of recent security challenges in parts of the country, President Jonathan assures the Islamic faithful in the affected areas that every possible effort will be made to ensure that they observe the Ramadan rites of spiritual reflection, supplication, good deeds, charity and worship without hindrance.
“The President prays that God Almighty will grant the prayers of Nigerians during Ramadan and reward the entire nation with multiple blessings as well as greater peace, security, political stability, unity and faster socio-economic development. He wishes the Muslim community a successful and spiritually rewarding Ramadan.”
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also yesterday congratulated Muslims in the state urging them to rededicate themselves to the worship of Allah.
The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, urged the adherents of the Islamic faith to use the period for spiritual cleansing and healing and also to pray for the peace of the state in particular and Nigeria in general.
Fayemi also used the opportunity to call on adherents of various religions to love one another and live together in peace.
Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has also urged Muslims and residents to intensify their “prayers and fasting so that peace, unity and security of lives and property could be achieved in the state and the country at large.”
Shettima gave the advice in a signed press statement on Ramadan.
“We were known for peace and we desperately need to get back that very significant element of our existence as a people. Let also use the
Ramadan to touch the lives of each other especially our neighbours in need. The best amongst people are those that touch the lives of others
by way of selfless sacrifices, ” the governor added.
And from the Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa came an appeal to Islamic Scholars and Muslims all over the country to intercede for the nation in order to overcome the present security challenge.
Yakowa urged “the Ummah to use the fast season for spiritual and moral rebirth as Ramadan embodies and pray for the peace, unity, progress and development of the state and the nation at large, as he also added that “even though the challenges of leadership, followership and state building are daunting especially in the face of the current security challenges, they can be addressed with prayers, dedication and honesty of purpose from all.”
And in in compliance with the teachings of Ramadan, eminent Islamic Scholars in Nigeria have asked sponsors of violence in the country, especially those behind the insurgency of Boko Haram, to use the opportunity of the holiness of the month, to repent and seek forgiveness from Allah.
They equally asked them to go down in players for purification of their hearts and specifically demand forgiveness from the families and relatives of those who have been killed or maimed in their ungodly and ‘condemnable’ acts.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday on telephone, National Missioner, Ansur-Deen Society of Nigeria, Imam Ahmed Abdul-Rahman; National Missioner, Islamic Dawah Movement of Nigeria, Utsaz Lateef Bello and National President, Association of Muslim Professionals, Utsaz Sakariyat Ajibola, were unanimous that whatever the agitation or conviction of the terrorist group , it is totally un-Islamic to take innocent life or unleash terror on innocent people. The concerned clerics submitted that Ramadan is the best period for members of the terrorist group to sheathe their swords and submit themselves to moves aimed at attaining sustainable peace.
Imam Abdul-Rahman said the month of Ramadan has offered a golden opportunity for all Muslims to critically examine themselves and ask three fundamental questions: “Am I what Allah wanted me to be?” “Am I fulfilling the purpose with which I was created?” and “How can I do better?”
Ajibola on his part said the month of Radaman is a symbol of peace, during which Allah told the faithful to, even if the period falls within a war, automatic cease fire.
According to him, “It is important that they (Boko Haram) also come out to explain their grievances to the appropriate authorities and stop this needless shedding of the blood of innocent and hapless Nigerians. We have had enough killings. It’s obvious that their motive is not to Islamise Nigeria because their activities totally negate such. You don’t woo somebody into an association or a line of faith by coercion or killing. It’s inexplicable!”
“… Our leaders should also explore the month to retrace their steps and be good and just. Allah said when a leader is bad, the followers would follow suit. So, they should lead by example so as to inspire positive followership,” he added.
In his submissions, Bello said the basic lesson of Ramadan was Allah’s request to the Muslims faithful to “ fear Him. And what is the fear of God? …goodness and fairness in both public and private. Secondly, we should be patient. A fasting individual must be calm, humble and persevering...
“Thirdly, we should be generous and compassionate to those poor people… Allah wants us to retain all these good deeds beyond Ramadan so that we can become better persons and attract infinite mercies from him.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Jigawa State Command, has cautioned commercial motorcycle riders and other motorists in the state against impatience during the fasting period.
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