On day of sacrifice, Nigeria’s rebirth begins!
As Nigerians join the rest of the world to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir today, all citizens should be reminded to celebrate the festival with love for one another and for the country.
The occasion calls for sober reflection on one hand, especially on account of the deep economic recession in which the nation wallows, and gratitude to Almighty Allah on the other, for the promise of a better tomorrow.
The history of the Eid, indeed, calls for sobriety in its observance given that it started as an occasion when Almighty God showed his infinite mercy and kindness to humanity by miraculously producing a ram to be sacrificed instead of a human being. Humanity is on this occasion reminded of the Koranic (and Biblical) story of how Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), may Allah’s peace be upon him, had promised to sacrifice his only son to Almighty Allah. In absolute submission to Allah, he set out to sacrifice the boy who, in similar faith, also submitted himself to the will of Allah. At the last moment, however, God, honoured and moved by such submissive faith of father and son, ordered a substitution with a ram that miraculously appeared at the point of sacrifice.
Ultimately, the Eid-el-Adha, as today’s festival is also called, is a humbling reminder to Nigerians and indeed all mankind that favour will emerge at the point of sacrifice. Mercy will always show up in moments of sacrifice.
But most, if not all citizens, have fallen short of the glory of God. They have failed to be in awe of Him and to submit themselves to His injunctions. Instead, they have lived in crass opportunism and materialism while self and greed are elevated over and above the common heritage of humanity. The wickedness, in words and deeds that rules the world, especially Nigeria is, sadly, despite the fact that the people, including leaders of governments of states and communities dominated or populated by Muslims, continue to preach the doctrine of love and service unto others so well espoused by the religion of Islam.
Many leaders have erred against Almighty Allah, going by their gross mismanagement of public resources put in their care, and have continued to live a lie against the holy injunctions even as they celebrate today’s Eid. While they and their immediate families swim in opulence and extravagance, the rest of the citizens wallow in abject poverty, in glaring and blasphemous subversion of Allah’s admonition!
This occasion should, therefore, be a reminder to all that Allah is a most merciful God Who is ready to shower His mercy and blessing on all His believers if only they would obey Him and serve His people.
It is worth re-emphasizing that if God could halt what should have been a destruction of mankind, and, through His mercy, provide a ram for Ibrahim in place of his son, He can indeed save Nigeria from the multiple ills that plague her and save mankind from the scourges of war, disease, hunger, poverty and want. But Nigerians and humanity must genuinely seek His intervention. The Holy Books teach that God is not a man that He would tell a lie. He will intervene in the country’s travails not in the midst of sin and un-repentance but when citizens repent and, in humility, submit to His will. For, while the Almighty God will forever be merciful, His acts of mercy and blessing must be manifestly and continually sought by all. Nigerians must, therefore, abide by His injunctions and rules so that His merciful countenance may be found and His hands of benevolence may touch Nigeria.
Nigeria would be a better family house for all irrespective of tongue, tribe, religion or any other artificial division if all would imbibe the lessons of Eid-el-Kabir. The scourge of poverty in the midst of plenty, religious intolerance, ethnic hatred, robbery, kidnapping, sundry crimes and all sorts of inhumanity to each other would be consumed by love as Almighty Allah teaches all to love.
Nigeria’s leaders especially should use this occasion to re-educate themselves on the fear of God and love of the people in whose trust they hold their various offices. They should be schooled in deep thoughts for the people and kindness towards them as the custodians of the sovereignty of the nation they are elected or selected to govern.
Corruption, selfishness, greed and conspicuous consumption are vices that have retarded the progress of Nigeria and these have been sources of reproach to an otherwise great country.The gap between the have and the have-nots, the rich and the poor, the people and those who lead them have been widened by insensitivity, selfishness and a certain absence of godliness that should never be found in a country and among a people where today’s Eid is forever celebrated.
All citizens should observe this Eid the way Allah and the Holy Prophet Mohammed (May Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) instruct. The rams should be slaughtered within the three days following the passage by pilgrims to Mecca and Medina of Mount Arafat. The slaughtered rams should be promptly shared among families, friends, neighbours and the less privileged, including the faithful who could not afford rams. Merriments should be done in moderation, in utmost humility and in gratitude to Him Who has preserved the nation thus far. Thoughts should be spared for Nigerians, of all faiths, stuck in poverty and want as a result of the current economic circumstances.
For Nigeria’s leaders, irrespective of whatever religion they profess, to find the mercy of Almighty Allah, they must live their lives, in words, in deed and in truth, in the knowledge that their joy is conditioned upon true recognition of the Almighty One as the all-powerful, upon their love for the people and their willingness to sacrifice all in the service of the people. For as long as this realisation eludes them and they continue in their usual way of using their positions for self aggrandizement, for amassing wealth and wielding power for its own sake at the expense of the people, the people may suffer but those leaders too will find no favour with Him Who is the ultimate Giver of joy.
On this day of the festival of sacrifice, therefore, let the journey to Nigeria’s rebirth begin!
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