EDITORIAL: Happy Eid-el-Maulud


(Eid-el-Maulud) Today, October 29, which is equivalent to 12th Rabi’al-Awwal in the Islamic calendar, Sunni Muslims all over the world are observing and celebrating the birth of their leader, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), who, they believe, is the last prophet of Allah.

Even though Shia Muslims recognise and mark the prophet’s birthday on the 17th Rabi-al-Awal, the significance of this occasion is universally acknowledged, at least, by the Muslim world.

Here, in Nigeria, a public holiday has been declared by the Federal Government to mark the day.

While the holiday is just for one day, the festivities accompanying it can last for as long as the entire month, as Islamic schools, organisations and interested individuals mark and celebrate Eid-el-Maulud on any chosen day within the Islamic month, at their convenience.

The month is usually marked by Nigerian Muslims with constant readings from the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, Islamic songs glorifying all aspects of life of the Holy Prophet, periodic meditation and reflection, organised preaching, with mostly Muslim youths visiting parks, gardens and monuments.

Young Muslims, most often, organise Islamic dramas and shows depicting the life and times of the Prophet, with useful interpretations and lessons for the audience by elders. All through, sumptuous meals are prepared and distributed among families, friends, children and elders alike.

Although there are controversies from some quarters in the Muslim world as to the appropriateness, or otherwise, of marking and celebrating the prophet’s birthday (with some saying the prophet and his closest companions did not, even once, celebrate his birthday during his lifetime and, therefore, it is wrong for Muslims to do so after his demise), it is an indubitable fact that most Islamic scholars in Nigeria do recognise and celebrate the Prophet’s birthday and encourage other Muslims to do so. It is also true that this controversy will, perhaps, linger till eternity.

The Daily Times identifies with Muslims in Nigeria and elsewhere across the globe and heartily congratulates them on this joyous occasion.

Beyond the celebrations, however, we see this occasion as a period of sober reflection and deep introspection on the socio-economic, political and other concerns that have enveloped Nigeria’s entire firmament at this auspicious time, especially the on-going crisis over #EndSARS and the looting and killings that came in its aftermath. Some have attributed the atrocities being committed to what many see as bad governance or, specifically, the corrupt tendencies of many of our political leaders.

This is one of the most vexing issues that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) constantly harped on and kicked against throughout his lifetime. Corruption and exploitation of the poor are antithetical to the ideals and practice of Islam.

Accordingly, we urge all Nigerians to reflect seriously on the issues of governance and the overall responsibility of our leaders who were voted or appointed into office to serve the common good.

A situation where those in power use state resources to maim and kill with impunity, or hide COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses, when the majority of Nigerians are hungry, is not good.

Indeed, it is wicked and absolutely unacceptable. Good leaders will never harbour such rapacious tendencies to the detriment of suffering and hapless citizens.

All Nigerians, Muslims and Christians alike, should use this occasion to reflect on the concept of good leadership, which the Holy Prophet espoused and encouraged.

At a time like this, we need to look ourselves in the societal mirror to see how far we have traveled along the unenviable path of bad leadership and strive to improve on our governance strategies in order restructure our society for the good of all.

We, further, enjoin all Muslims to imbibe the spirit of love, patience and perseverance which are the virtues of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), as doing so will guarantee peace and security in the country.

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They should continue to pray for the good health, peace, unity, prosperity and stability of Nigeria which are the basic requirements for national development.

While calling on all Nigerians to stop all divisive tendencies, wanton killings and irresponsible looting across the country, we enjoin them, particularly Muslims, at this moment, to abhor violence and lawlessness, ensure good neighbourliness which is another virtue displayed by the Holy Prophet of Islam during his sojourn on earth.

Peace and stability are crucial to national development and all hands should be on deck to ensure a steady ship. May Allah bless the faithful as they honour the revered founder of the Muslim faith through the celebration of his birthday.

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