Muslims the world over celebrate, today, the Eid-el Kabir (Greater Festival), also referred to as Eid-el Adha (Festival of Sacrifice), which officially commences with the two rakaat prayers. This particular Eid, which is usually celebrated on the 10th of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja, is celebrated to commemorate the readiness of Prophet Ibrahim to use his only child, Prophet Ismail, for sacrifice, in obedience to God’s command. But then the Almighty rescued the child by offering his father a ram to use instead.
The Eid-el Adha is normally preceded by the standing on Mount Arafat on the 9th of Dhul Hijja by millions of the faithful who have been fortunate to travel to Mecca for Hajj, itself one of the major pillars of Islam.
In Nigeria, the federal government has declared today and tomorrow public holidays. Although the Eid-el Kabir is usually marked here, just like in other parts of the world, with durbars, exchange of gifts, visits, greetings and other forms of merriment, we wish to particularly enjoin our Muslim brothers and sisters across the country to also use the period to engage in sober reflections and prayers for peace and progress in our nation.
This is more so as this year’s feast of sacrifice has come at a time of utmost trial for Nigeria, as the level of insecurity in the country rose to the zenith with kidnappings, killings and other forms of violence nationwide. There is also the public health challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic that has seriously depressed the nation’s economy.
We further appeal to all the Muslim faithful to imbibe all those lessons that can be learnt during this period, especially drawing from the complete subservience of Prophet Ibrahim to Allah, which teaches us to be patient, tolerant and obedient to God and constituted authority.
Besides, Muslims are also enjoined in this period to be nice to fellow human beings, most especially the poor, needy and wayfarers, whether or not they belong to the same faith. This goes further to encourage us to care for the plights of fellow human beings through the sharing of food and other gifts, thereby inculcating in us the virtues of kindness, compassion, love, tenderness, warmth and affection, all of which negate all forms of hostilities, conflicts and aggression that are now prevalent in the Nigerian nation.
Beyond the call on the Muslim faithful to thoroughly imbibe the spirit of patience, tolerance and obedience to constituted authority, we seize this opportunity to urge our leaders at all levels of governance to eschew all forms of corruption and injustice that have smeared Nigeria’s image globally, and have been at the root of the insurgency and other forms of criminality we are witnessing. While calling for self-restraint among all and sundry, we wish our Muslim brothers and sisters in Nigeria and the world over happy Eid-el Kabir festivities.