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Brethren! Month of Ramadan is two weeks from today!

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Today is 18 Shaaban1441 A.H. This means that the month of Ramadan is less than two weeks from today depending on the sighting of the moon and the location of each Muslim community across the world. Today we are all praying. We must beseech the Almighty to let this ‘cup’ pass the whole world on time. We are praying unto him to grant us the much- desired relief and succour; that He should lift this burden of coronavirus, this gravity of death and fear, this anxiety for life and living off from us so that we can begin this year’s month of fasting with renewed hope. Yes. Nothing is beyond His power. He alone can do it. We know that He will do it.

We pray and let us pray. Let us pray unto him to grant the world the desired relief before the month of Ramadan begins. We all know that it is a month of spiritual examination and training. It is a month of high social and communal value. Ramadan helps you discover the human in you, the same way it awakens your spiritual potentials. Ramadan comes to bond the individual to and with his community; it functions in waking the community up to its strength in the individual.

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Ramadan frees Muslims from their appetitive and vegetative bondages; it raises them up to such heights as are open only to the angels and the chosen ones among the servants of the Almighty. If humanity gets to know of its huge blessings, so goes the tradition, they would request that the Almighty makes fasting a whole year, not just a month or twenty-nine days, as is presently the case.

Thus, we pray. We are praying to the Almighty to cure the whole world of this global pandemic known as COVID-19. We are praying unto Him even in the knowledge that we have all sinned. We are praying unto Him not to hold us to account for the iniquities of a group among us. Yes. We have all sinned. Our world has become that of the Beelzebub. Before COVID-19, our world has become worse than that of the people of Lut where sodomy and homosexuality prevailed. Our world has become worse than that of the people of Madyan to whom Prophet Shuayb was sent as a warner. Our world, before January 2020, had made the emergence of another Muhammad a categorical imperative as it was before the birth of Muhammad, son of Abdullah (s.a.w) in the 7th century. Only a couple of days, images of an assemblage of homosexuals were sent to me.

I shuddered when I saw men kissing their own gender in apparent invitation to the Almighty to visit them with His wrath if he could. I shivered when I read stories coming out of China particularly a Chinese city known as Guangdong. In that city everything and anything is eatable and edible. There in Guandong, the popular saying is that the locals will eat “anything that flies except a plane, and anything with four legs except a table.”. Thus, all varieties of exotic animal species including porcupines, raccoons, dogs, bats, snakes, pigs were constantly on sale. When humans comport themselves as if apart from this world, there is none else, they are fated to recriminations and retributions here and in the hereafter. We have to pray.

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We have to pray and fervently too that the Almighty grant the whole world reprieve and relief from this pandemic known as COVID-19 as soon as possible so that we can observe our fast in line with the usual routine. We have to pray and fervently too for His mercies because of the sight and scenes of the poor and the pauperized have become so grim that only global penitence could redeem our world from this precipice. Nothing is left for us other than to pray and seek His forgiveness.

Brethren, we have to seek His forgiveness because apart from other possibilities, outbreak of plaques and diseases are repercussions for Infractions against His will and injunctions here on earth just as hell fire is reward in the hereafter for earthly iniquities. Apart from those protocols recommended by epidemiologists, it would be good if we all dedicate the coming days to penitence. We must return to Him and seek forgiveness for our evil ways. We must keep this in mind that if an entire household possesses a single righteous person, the Almighty shall safeguard their complete family. In fact, if their righteousness has reached the highest level, then they can act as an intercessor for their neighborhood as well. Let us renew our faith in Him and pray fervently for His intercession. Apart from Him, there is none but Him.

Oladosu, a Professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies, is the Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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