Today, Muslims in Nigeria join their counterparts all over the world to mark this year’s Eid-ul-Mawlid in commemoration of the birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The day is marked every 12th of Rabi’ul Awwal of the Islamic calendar, which this year corresponded to yesterday, Monday.
Already, the federal government has declared today, Tuesday, October 19, 2021, as a public holiday to enable Nigerian Muslims mark the event with sober reflections, especially on the rising insecurity, high profile corruption and growing inequality and restiveness in the country, all of which negate the teachings of the Holy Prophet.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in a statement, by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, congratulated all Muslim faithful at home and in the Diaspora for witnessing this year’s occasion. He admonished Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience and perseverance, which are the virtues of the Holy Prophet, as doing so would guarantee peace and security of the country.
Aregbesola enjoined Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to refrain from violence, lawlessness and other acts of criminality. “As the indisputable leader of our race, we must show responsible leadership in Africa,” he said.
The teachings of Islam are centred on belief in God, devotion and service to humanity. The Holy Quran 2:177 spells out the fundamental concept thus: the believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the revealed Books and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Allah, for the kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the freeing of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity, to fulfil the contracts made; and to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbour is hungry.” All these virtues are exemplified by the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The Islamic society he built was acclaimed for its justice and equity such that there was nothing comparable to it throughout the ages. It was said that at its peak a woman could carry a load of gold on her head and travel from Madina to Makkah, a distance of 300 miles plus, without being harassed. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had throughout his lifetime preached peace, honesty, love for one another and the fear of Allah.
Unfortunately, these virtues of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are being observed mostly in the breach, especially, in contemporary Nigeria. The growing insecurity, high profile corruption and various forms of iniquity ravaging the polity are, no doubt, impeding the nation’s social, political and economic development.
We, therefore, urge the Muslim faithful in Nigeria and their compatriots to seize the opportunity offered by the birth of the Holy Prophet for a sober reflection and devotion. Nigerians, generally, should stop and ponder deeply on the myriad of challenges confronting this country; to retrace their steps, renew their faith in God and imbibe the true meaning of piety, sacrifice, patience and fellowship. Nigerians should not allow the significance of this day to be lost on them. As the politicians get to the drawing board to scheme their electoral chances ahead of the 2023 general elections, Nigerians, particularly the youth, should resist the temptation to be used as canon fodders to disrupt the electoral process.
Muslim ummah should emulate the noble characteristics of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who lived a peaceful life, preached peaceful co-existence among and between his followers and the adherents of other beliefs. President Muhammadu Buhari’s message to all citizens to mark the event last year, to wit, to use the occasion to reflect on the virtues of the Holy Prophet by showing love and understanding to fellow citizens while exhibiting patience, honesty, sincerity, kindness and generosity in all their undertakings, are still relevant.
On its part, the government at all levels, namely, federal, state and local governments, have the onerous responsibility to ensure justice, fairness and equity among all and sundry as the basis for building a prosperous and egalitarian society. Government must ensure that they deplore the vast natural resources in the land for the good and well being of every Nigerian, devoid of political, ethnic and religious affiliation. This is the right path to building a cohesive, peaceful and viable society.
We wish all Muslim faithful Happy Eid-ul-Mawlid.