Discipline and self-control are essential to all, and society

With the end of the Muslim holy month of self-purification and self-denial otherwise known as Ramadan, we urge all adherents to imbibe its enduring lessons. Those lessons are not only for adherents of the faith, but indeed for all Nigerians, especially at a period like this. In his Eld-el-fitr message yesterday, President Bola Tinubu appealed to all Nigerians to come together and rededicate themselves to the noble duty of building the nation. “We are the sculptor, and Nigeria is the clay; we build it the way we desire”, the president admonished.

Fasting as a spiritual exercise is advocated by all religions ostensibly with the notion that the man or woman who can make sacrifices in the bid to tame their desires would be better both for themselves and the larger society. As the Muslim faithful therefore mark the end of this annual spiritual exercise, it is hoped that the outcome will be of immense benefit to the nation. We must begin to build the Nigeria of our dream. 

Meanwhile, the season of fasting and prayer offered all Muslims the opportunity to reflect on their relationship with Allah. To devotees, it was a period of self-emptying without which no spiritual being can have a truly rewarding relationship with his or her maker. It also enabled those with means to share food with the poor, the needy and the less privileged. Clearly, 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 in the country.

By paying attention to the plight of the poor as was amply demonstrated during Ramadan, we invariably place the welfare of our neighbours 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. This happens to be at the heart of all religions, and a virtue that Nigerians must begin to imbibe at this period when millions of our people are going to bed hungry. It is also important that we see the effect in our country beyond seminal pronouncements that are not backed by concrete actions from those in positions of authority.

In the spirit of Ramadan, government officials must begin to see their assignment as a public trust while the period of self-emptying without which no spiritual being can have a truly rewarding relationship with their maker should not go to waste. For all Muslims, it was an opportunity to rededicate themselves to the teachings of the faith and the cause of mankind. As one of the five pillars of Islam, Ramadan was aimed at promoting both the spiritual and material wellbeing of man, it stands to reason that man is invariably better off doing the will of God than merely pleasing himself. When he can 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. That for us was one of the most enduring lessons of Ramadan which we hope many would have imbibed.

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.

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