Ramadan Mubarak 2023
This year’s Ramadan fast begins today, Thursday March 23, 2023, in Nigeria and other parts of the Muslim world. This followed the official announcement by…
This year’s Ramadan fast begins today, Thursday March 23, 2023, in Nigeria and other parts of the Muslim world. This followed the official announcement by the Sultanate Council in Sokoto, last night, of reports of the moon sighting received from Muslim leaders across the country, which indicated that the moon was sighted in some Nigerian cities and towns. This was after the reports were duly scrutinized, verified and authenticated by the national moon sighting committee.
In his message, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General for both the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, urged Muslims to use the holy month to rededicate themselves to the teachings of Islam. He also enjoined them to pray fervently for peace, progress and stability of Nigeria and the world in general.
Observing Ramadan fast in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar is one of the five basic pillars of Islam. Ramadan fast in Islam entails abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking and conjugal relationships between dawn and sunset for the entire period of the month of Ramadan. The injunction of this religious obligation is in Qur’an 2:183 wherein Allah, the Exalted, says, “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint”. Muslims are, therefore, required to fast in the month of Ramadan and remain devoted to religious duties.
In addition to physical abstinence from food and other restrictions placed upon believers during the day time of Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to use the period to exhibit the virtues of tolerance, hospitality, charity and kindness, especially to the indigent and vulnerable members of the society. Prophetic traditions in Islam exhorts Muslims to give alms, feed the poor and invite others including non-Muslims to break the Ramadan fast with them. These acts of benevolence particularly in Ramadan are catalysts for promoting religious understanding and tolerance, which today have more than ever become necessary for orchestrating the much-needed peace, social cohesion and national integration in Nigeria.
Patience and perseverance are some of the lessons learnt by Muslims when they observe the 30-day Ramadan fast. The pains of physical deprivation is felt but patiently endured. This deprivation and endurance, though temporary, makes the individual to be conscious of the effects of such pains suffered by many others, who either dwell in perpetual poverty or have limited access to basic necessities of life. Meanwhile, we call on state governments against fraudulent expenditures in the name of public feeding of indigent persons during Ramadan or the use of public funds to sponsor relations and aides to perform lesser-pilgrimage in Mecca. Ramadan is a holy season, and therefore, should not be accompanied with unholy acts. Instead, governments could work towards providing employment and job opportunities for the people.
As a sacred period during which Allah answers the prayers of His devoted servants, Daily Trust urges Muslims in Nigeria to collectively and individually seize this spiritual opportunity to pray for a quick end to the country’s critical challenges of insecurity and economic woes including insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, unemployment, and inflation. We call on all Muslims to pray for the success of the new political leadership that emerged from the 2023 general elections.
The essence of this month, which is unique in Islam, requires Muslims to exercise moderation in whatever they do. They are cautioned against gorging themselves on meals to the extent they are unable to wake up and spend the night in worship. Generally, Ramadan calls for the abandonment of greed. Thus, we urge dealers in essential commodities not to take undue advantage of the Ramadan period to make usurious profits by increasing the prices of foodstuff, fruits and other essential commodities.
We urge religious leaders and scholars to educate their audiences on the virtues of exploring non-violent and peaceful means to advance any grievances they may habour. Aggrieved groups should be encouraged to toe the path of dialogue as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s Treaty with non-Muslims at Hudaybiyyah.
Preachers should remain true to their calling as religious leaders by being sensitive to the peculiar circumstances in the country. While we encourage them to deploy wisdom and knowledge in preaching, inflammatory expressions should be avoided at all Ramadan preaching sessions. Clerics should be selective in their choice of words; avoiding statements that could provoke aggrieved and oppressed persons or groups. Ramadan Kareem!