THE Muslim festival of Eid-el-Kabir is here once again. Expectedly, Nigerian Muslim faithful will join their counterparts, the world over to mark the event with prayers and merriment. In Nigeria, the festival is also known as Sallah.
It is particularly noteworthy that this year’s celebration is coming at a time of great austerity in the country and when the economy is in recession. The time, as the government and people have acknowledged, calls for the best in all of us and for unity of purpose. The citizenry must collaborate with government to think out of box and pull us out of the present economic tough times.
We believe we can learn from the total submission of Ibrahim and his son, Ishmael to the will of Allah. In complete obedience to his maker, Ibrahim was ready to sacrifice his son. But in a significant act of divine mercy and provision, Allah provided a ram for the sacrifice, satisfied that Ibrahim would not hold anything back from Him.
That is why this occasion of the Sallah is an opportunity once again to emphasize the things that unite us as a people. We must learn the lesson of sacrifice first. The nation is in dire need of exemplary leaders, rather than rulers and exploiters.
The difficulties in the land already leave our people with very few choices. But instead of grumbling and trading blames, this is the time to think differently and act with discipline and focus to achieve national goals.
Let us also imbibe the lesson of humility that the occasion symbolises. We urge governments at all levels, to understand that they are in power on behalf of the people and should therefore work in the best interest of the people always. They must communicate their policies and actions appropriately to the people and be patient to get their support.
Our people too should be ready to contribute their quota to nation building, and be ready to give government the benefit of the doubt despite our fears and inconveniences.
Another enduring lesson of the Eid-el-Kabir is kindness. Allah in his infinite mercy provided the ram for the sacrifice. Ibrahim, his servant, had absolute trust that his maker could provide for all of his needs. That Allah showed up when it mattered most, should encourage us as a people and country. Despite the present economic hardship, there will be light at the end of the tunnel, if only government and the people would work together.
As our Muslim faithful throughout the country celebrate this Sallah festival, we urge them to spare a thought for themselves and country. Because of the present economic difficulties, there may not be much of the usual feasts and merriment, but we must not lose sight of the significance of the occasion. The occasion calls for rededication and commitment to oneself, neighbours, family and country.
It should not be lost on our Muslim faithful that Sallah is an occasion for prayers. We must pray for our country, the people and leaders at all levels. We must remember our Muslim faithful who are performing the pilgrimage in the Holy Land at this time.
We urge them to pray for the country, even as we wish them a successful completion of the most important rite, and happy return to the country. We wish our Muslim brothers and sisters happy celebration.