FEATURES: Using Ramadan fast to foster nation’s peace
September 07, 2011 15:16
NANfeatures/Vol. 5/No. 193/2011 (Sept. 7)
Using Ramadan fast to foster nation’s peace
By Bashir Mani, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Recently, Muslim faithful the world over ended their month-long fasting in Ramadan – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
In Islam, the Ramadan fast is obligatory for all Muslims, who are required to abstain from foods, drinks, smoking and sex for specific hours of the days of the fast.
The spiritual exercise is intended to imbibe in Muslims, the cherished values of patience, spirituality, humanity and submissiveness to Almighty Allah.
This year’s Ramadan fast began on Aug. 1 or 1st of Ramadan, 1432 AH of the Islamic calendar, after the sighting of the new moon the previous night – 30th of Sha’aban, 1432 AH.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar 111, who is also the President-General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA), proclaimed the commencement of the month-long fast.
The Sultan is also the Co-Chairman of the Nigerian Inter-Religious
Council (NIREC), established by the Federal Government to foster religious harmony and tolerance in the country.
As always, a myriad of spiritual activities were carried out every day of the fasting period to bring Muslim adherents closer to Almighty Allah. These included recitation of the glorious Qur’an, commentaries or Tafseer and other forms of spiritual worship connected to the religion.
Through these activities, the faithful expected to attract God’s favours and salvation. On the adherents’ part, they were to imbibe sterling human qualities, piety, perseverance and inclination towards philanthropy.
``The Ramadan was a period of spiritual renewal for me personally. I had a spiritual uplift and discipline which have improved my prayer life. I have also improved on my inclination to sharing things with people, especially the less privileged,” said Hajia Hawa Lawal, an Abuja-based journalist.
``The values imbibed during the Ramadan fast are supposed to outlive the Ramadan month. In fact, they should be practised throughout the Islamic calendar year and in one’s lifetime,” said Malam Shittu Allassan, another Muslim resident in Abuja.
Observers noted a common feature during the fasting period -- the Muslim Faithful's intercession on behalf of the nation, to seek peace, unity and the socio-economic prosperity of its peoples
``In virtually all mosques and in all the activities during the period, the focal point of the prayers by Muslims was on the nation’s peace, unity, stability and progress.
``If you do not have peace, you will find it difficult to worship properly. Peaceful co-existence and national harmony were on everybody’s lips and Allah in His mercy will certainly give the nation peace,” Hajia Lawal said.
The sighting of a new moon - Shawwal on Aug. 29, which is equivalent to Sha’aban 29 , 1432 AH on the Islamic calendar, officially marked the end of the Ramadan fast.
While announcing the new moon’s sighting, the Sultan congratulated the Muslim Ummah for the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.
``I congratulate all the Muslims for the successful completion of the
Ramadan fast. May Allah (SWT) accept and reward us with Paradise, Amen.
``May Allah give us the ability and courage to live together in peace and harmony throughout the country, Amen.’’
The Sultan’s official proclamation of the end of the fast officially set the tone for the Eid-el-Fitr celebration nationwide, as Muslims offered thanksgivings to God for all His mercies.
During the celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 30 -- equivalent to 1st Ramadan, 1432 AH on the Islamic calendar -- Muslim faithful converged on various Eid praying grounds to join fellow adherents all over the world in the Raka’at prayers presided over by the chief imams.
In parts of the federation, durbars, visitations, feasting and picnicking were some of the activities that made the festivity very memorable.
Notable citizens had also used the occasion of the Eid-el Fitr festivity to offer felicitations to the nation’s Muslim populace.
In a special broadcast to his people, Gov. Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State urged Muslims to consolidate on the gains of the fast by being more prayerful and more inclined to charity, while striving to live at peace with all men.
On his part, President Goodluck Jonathan had also congratulated the Muslims
on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast, urging them to foster the peace of the nation through peaceful co-existence.
Presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, quoted the President as saying that his expectation was that the God Almighty would grant all the prayers offered by the Muslims during the fast for the continued peace and progress of the nation.
Jonathan deplored the spate of violence in parts of the country, especially the recent bomb blasts, assuring Nigerians that his government had risen to the challenge to safeguard the people’s lives and property.
Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who led a delegation of Muslims on a Sallah homage to the President, also underscored the need for Muslims to live by the lessons of the Ramadan fast.
Sambo assured Jonathan and other Nigerians that Muslims would not relent in their fervent prayers to God to sustain the nation’s peace and progress.
``These are very crucial times to ensure that Jonathan’s transformation agenda for Nigeria becomes extremely efficacious.’’
As more Nigerians congratulate the Muslims on their successful ending of the Ramadan fast, the general expectation is that the grace of the Almighty Allah will be released upon the nation so that peace and tranquility will reign. (NANFeatures).
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).