There is need to continue to champion the cause of the needy and the less privileged in the society
After a season of fasting and prayer which offered all Muslims the opportunity to reflect on their relationship with Allah, the Islamic holy month of self-purification and self-denial otherwise known as Ramadan has just ended. It was a period marked by sharing and love, including with adherents of other religions, especially during Iftah (the meal taken at the end of each day’s fast) which has helped to forge better relationships among Nigerians. We congratulate all the Muslims who were able to join in this annual sacrifice.
However, even though the month-long fasting has now come and gone, it is important that the lessons endure. As one of the five pillars of Islam, the spiritual significance of Ramadan comes in several respects. To many Muslims, for instance, it was a period of self-emptying without which no spiritual being can have a truly rewarding relationship with their Maker. That, in the main, was the essence of the group prayers and abstinence from all forms of worldly comforts and pleasures that are associated with the season. But as far as the society is concerned, caring for others remains the most noble of Ramadan experience.
As Muslims faithful therefore mark the end of this annual spiritual exercise, it is hoped that the outcome will be of immense benefit to the society. We hope the spirit of sharing with their fellow beings which was the hallmark of the fasting season will continue long after the Ramadan. This is particularly important because there has never been a greater need for sharing with the less privileged and the needy of our society than exists today when millions of Nigerians can hardly make ends meet due to the economic situation. We must continue to champion the cause of the needy and the less privileged in our society as many did during Ramadan.
Since the Ramadan fast, which like the other four pillars of Islam, was aimed at promoting both the spiritual and material well-being of man, it stands to reason that man is invariably better off doing the will of God than merely pleasing himself. When he is able to rein in the impulse for self-gratification and greedy accumulation of wealth, man is more liable to make his society a better place to live in, not only for himself but also for his neighbour. That for us was one of the most enduring lessons of Ramadan which we hope many would have imbibed.
By paying attention to the plight of the poor as was amply demonstrated in the course of Ramadan, we invariably place the welfare of our neighbour as important as ours. By allowing others to partake of our wealth or material possessions, we honour the One who gave us the wealth in the first place.
It is noteworthy that fasting as a spiritual exercise is advocated by all religions ostensibly with the notion that the man who can make sacrifices in the bid to tame his desires would be a better person both for himself and the larger society. As one expert puts it, besides abstention from food and drink, fasting helps the faithful “from looking at the provocative, from hearing the mischievous, and from uttering the obscene…to avoid slander and from thinking about inflicting injury to others.”
All said, the nation’s leaders, political and otherwise, have much to take from the lessons of Ramadan. If only they can curtail their materialistic tendencies and pay more attention to the yearnings of the people, the country will certainly become a much happier place to live in. We therefore urge our leaders to imbibe the lessons of Ramadan.
To our numerous Muslim readers, we say: Eid Mubarak. May Allah reward your sacrifice.