Sunday July 27, the first of Shawwal, the 10th month in the Islamic calendar, marked the beginning of Eid el Fitr or ‘Festival of Breaking Fast’, observed at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is an occasion for celebrations, marked by feasts and general merrymaking by both the old and the young. Indeed, the first three days of Shawwal are spent in celebrations. For the young in particular, it is an occasion for a fashion parade, when they strut in their new fineries. For them, no Eid el Fitr is complete without donning brand new attires to impress one another and the ‘competition’.
Sadly, at a time when all Muslims should be celebrating, for those in many towns in the northern part of the country, the 2014Eid el Fitr is one they welcome with trepidation because of the serious security situation occasioned by the murderous campaign of terror unleashed by the Boko Haram sect. The signs are all very clear that the Sallah day celebrations in the North may never be the same again for a long time to come.
Even without saying it, Eid day celebrations in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states where a state of emergency has been in existence for a year now, and to some extent Kano, Kaduna and Taraba states, will never be the same in the foreseeable future, as they too appear to be the main theatres of the Boko Haram sect’s senseless but murderous insurgency, which has made both Muslims and Christians equal targets of murder. Hardly a day goes by without members of the sect striking in one or some of the aforementioned states.
It is, indeed, sad that members of the Boko Haram sect, who link their dastardly activities to Islam, do not learn any of the lessons of the month of Ramadan, which is a period to be more God-fearing, learn piety, self-discipline and patience. It is also a time to be more charitable and generous. In addition, the month of Ramadan is a time to seek Allah’s forgiveness and to forgive each other. In essence, it is the month of prayers, charity, piety, and, above all, introspection and self-reassessment.
Of course, the harvest of security woes we are reaping is the function of the nauseating corruption that has held the nation in a deadly grip since the return of the current democratic dispensation 15 years ago, with particular vengeance in the last couple of years. Therefore, as we bid farewell to the holy month of Ramadan, let us welcome Eid el Fitr with a renewed attitude of gratitude and forgiveness in our hearts. In particular, we should strive to inculcate the lessons of the month in ourselves and give peace a chance in our dear nation.
We want to use this opportunity to once again call on our leaders to change their ways of doing things and put the nation first and always in both their deeds and utterances. And members of the Boko Haram sect, who are insisting that everyone must follow their creed, should go back to the Holy Qur’an, Chapter 2, verse 256, where Allah (SWT) states that ‘there is no compulsion in religion’. Therefore, everyone is free to follow the religion they choose without let or hindrance.
We wish all Muslims happy Eid el Fitr celebrations.