Saturday, 30th September 2023

Eid-Ul-Fitri and lessons of Ramadan

By Editorial Board
21 April 2023   |   3:10 am
This year’s Ramadan, the ninth month of lunar calendar during which it is obligatory for the Muslim faithful globally to fast, has reached its zenith.

President Muhammadu Buhari (right) participating in the 2023 Ramadan Tafsir at the Presidential Villa Mosque, Abuja

This year’s Ramadan, the ninth month of lunar calendar during which it is obligatory for the Muslim faithful globally to fast, has reached its zenith.

Thus, Nigerians join the rest of the Muslim world to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitri marking the end of one month-long spiritual engagement regarded as the period of self-sacrifice and self-denial with the sole aim of renewing their covenant with the Almighty.

The word Eid, in Arabic, refers to that which recurs or returns. Technically, Eid-ul-Fitr refers therefore to the feast which marks the end of the month-long fasting of Ramadan. It is a celebration of the completion of the training in the “school of Ramadan” where Muslims “attended courses” in patience, perseverance, honesty and the consciousness of the Almighty.

The Eid-ul-Fitri is the occasion in which Muslims are expected to bask in uncommon happiness, particularly for their ability to connect with the Almighty and especially at a time when profanity and bestiality have become fashionable. It is a moment of rejoicing, buoyed with conviction that one has succeeded in re-establishing his/her links with the creator.

The celebration becomes worthwhile if fasting provides humanity with the spiritual weapons without which life on this earth would be an extension of hell. Muslims should be happy that, thanks to Ramadan, under no circumstance shall they allow earthly principalities to pollute their souls; never again shall they allow prosperity to demean their spirituality; never again shall the temporary adversity deny them the greater value in walking with the Almighty in the wilderness of this terrestrial life.

But the signification of Eid-ul-Fitri affects humanity at large as it is assumed that the period of fasting has been used by all Nigerians, for instance, to seek the grace to commit themselves to a life of service to their country and to fellow human beings.

This becomes strong with the emergence of new leaders at state and Federal Government levels, from the 2023 general elections, who are expected to take the reins of governance by May 29, 2023 or after contestation of the outcome of the elections in the court of law.

This year’s fasting period may be over, but the teachings therefrom should remain constant in the lives of all. Steadfastness, piety, a prayerful life and humility as the Holy Quran teaches must be for everyday living, not the fasting period alone. Indeed, the cardinal message is that although Eid-ul-Fitri signifies the end of Ramadan, the doctrines of moderation, piety, regular supplication to Allah, and unconditional love go beyond Ramadan, and must be obeyed by all in accordance with Islamic tenets.

The belief is that no month is holier than Ramadan nor is any month more attractive of God’s forgiveness and mercy. Islam also emphasises that Allah is ready to answer prayers at all times if these are offered in the same upright circumstances guiding Ramadan. All Nigerians are therefore enjoined to keep these lessons uppermost in their heart as they celebrate the Eid.

A life of grace, humility, self-sacrifice, philanthropy, especially offering aid to the less privileged in the society and love for one another, are the paths to building a strong, peaceful and prosperous country. These constitute the fundamentals of making a nation achieve its manifest destiny. In the joy of this year’s celebration, the faithful and indeed each Nigerian should spare a thought for the entire country and how to confront its challenges of poverty and underdevelopment.

All should remember that although the country is renowned as one of the most endowed on earth, in terms of natural and human resources, it is ironically home to some of the poorest in the world. This remains an aberration and should have no place in the country had Nigerians been keeping to the tenets of Ramadan. Those who profess Godliness, particularly Muslims just coming out of the Ramadan rituals, should be genuinely concerned about the lopsidedness in the distribution of the nation’s wealth; knowing that if this wrong could be corrected, the entire country would be more blessed and less cursed

For the Muslim faithful particularly, it should be noted that observation of Eid-ul-Fitri goes with certain etiquette chief of which is in the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that Sadaqat-ul-Fitri should be given out preferably before the Eid prayers are observed. It is usually paid for and on behalf of all Muslims in a household, the young and the old. It may be paid in kind and this may feature three to four seers of wheat, barley, rice or any staple food (Sahih Bukhari 24:70). Of recent, Muslims scholars have addressed the necessity of monetising this act of worship based on existential necessities.

Whether it is given out in cash or in kind, the more important issue is the intention behind the act. The intention is to extend the happiness of the occasion to fellow brethren who are experiencing adversity. It should be desired for fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike the same quality of life the likes of which the Almighty has been kind to grant the haves in the society.

As Nigerians observe the Eid-ul-Fitri marking the end of this year’s Ramadan, it is important that humanity constantly keeps the virtues that the month has come to inculcate in us under focus. Have more empathy for the haves-not. Let Muslims sustain the acts of worship which they engaged in during the month. Steadfastness, patience and perseverance should remain their watchwords.

Ramadan came to call attention to the power of the spiritual realm; it came to take the faithful away from concern for the ephemeral, for that which is eternal. Ramadan came to teach that salvation here on earth and in the hereafter lies in how steady we are in focusing on The Almighty, how grateful we are for His blessings, and how patient shall we continue to be when, as is occasionally the case, the tide of time becomes turbulent and troublesome.

Nigeria’s leaders must find the will to shun greed, corruption, nepotism, and other ills that have stunted the country’s growth as such are completely against the essence of Islam, Ramadan or the Eid-ul-Fitri. For those who may have been caught in the vortex of these vices, there is no better time than now to repent and seek Almighty Allah’s forgiveness.

Nigeria’s purpose and destiny as a great country can be achieved. All Nigerians should seize the occasion of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitri to pray for their country and commit themselves wholeheartedly to the work of rebuilding it.

The Guardian wishes all Nigerians a fulfilling Eid-el-Fitri.