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Last Saturday the Islamic world ended a month-long period of fasting, the Ramadan, as it is generally referred to. Our Muslim brothers, sisters and friends in the country were part of it, a period during which they did not only abstain from food and bodily pleasures from dawn to dust but prayed for themselves and the nation as a whole.
Fasting as one of the cannons of Islam was prescribed to the other great faiths of the world although in the case of Muslims it is compulsory for those who are healthy to do so annually in line with the lunar calendar.
The discipline which the period of fasting imposes on those who engage in it, was it to be extended beyond the month under review, would have exacted upon us a lot of good.
By the time those who fast complete the exercise, they would have been uplifted spiritually – a state which stops them from misusing state properties and abusing the authority bestowed upon them by virtue of the positions they hold. If such persons hold themselves against the tendencies to engage in such negativities, why would they want to do so after the Ramadan fasting? Indeed what is bad during the month of Ramadan is equally bad outside the month.
Religion is about discipline: it is about holding God in high esteem and doing things which would move society forward.
Persons in authority, if they fear God and serve the interest of their people, must be respected by the ruled. The month-long period of fasting should therefore prime us to perform our various chores be they in public, civil or private lives, according to the dictates of God.
Imagine what our country or the world would have looked like were we all to abide by the rules of our faiths, the fear of God being the most outstanding of them all, as we do wholeheartedly during the month of fasting.
Why are we barred from engaging in evil things such as backbiting, lying, stealing and all those engagements which constitute negativities in society? It is because these are frowned upon by God and pull society and the world as a whole backwards.
To those who stretch their necks to dangerous points as they seek answers to our predicaments as a nation and why we are suffering retardation in life; the answer lies in our inability to abide by the tenets of our faiths.
Indeed the great faiths of the world, Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all hinged upon discipline. There would be no religion if there is no discipline.
Countries like Switzerland, Finland and the Scandinavian countries are where they are because of discipline. Juxtapose these parts of the world and ours and the difference is too vast to be ignored.
They would consider state properties and kitty as belonging to all citizens and therefore not to be abused or even usurped by individuals entrusted with their care when the kind of discipline espoused by the Ramadan fast is taken seriously and beyond the fasting period.
The travails of the country are all about indiscipline; the moral controls which the Ramadan demands from all faithful.
Muslims should be the last persons to be associated with those acts which the great faiths frown upon yet Islamic clerics continue to preach against these because of the proclivity of youth in this religion to engage in these misconducts.
It is our fervent prayer that the end of this year’s Ramadan fasting would be unlike others – changing the lives of the youth and entrenching in them and the adults the discipline very much associated with Islam.
The National Chief Imam would definitely speak about discipline as he has always done on such auspicious occasions.
We wish all Muslims a hitch-free Eid-Ul-Fitr.
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