Nigerian leaders from all religious and political backgrounds have expressed their goodwill messages to the nation’s Muslim Faithful on the occasion of Eid al–Fitr – also known as the “Festival of Breaking the Fast” – which is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan.
Nigeria is a country divided amongst different lines, including but not limited to religious lines, but there seems to be occasional mutual respect for different religions – especially when a sacred festival is upon us – be it Christmas for the Christians; Salat for the Muslims or other religious groups’ celebrations.
It is that time of the year again for the Muslim faithful to observe one of the most important events in their calendar year – end of the holy month of Ramadan, Eid al–Fit.
For Nigerian Muslim, the Sultan of sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar – who is the head of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (Society for the Support of Islam – JNI), and president-general of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) – the custodian of the country’s Islamic rites, rituals ad dogmas, in his usual capacity, has announced the citing of the moon, which means the end of the fasting period is upon us.
following this, and as Muslims mark the festival, Nigerians leader have used different means of outreach to reach out to the Muslim Society, sending out goodwill messages.
But before we look at some of these messages, the burning question, what is the festival all about?
Eid al-Fitr, Festival of Breaking the Fast”, is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (ṣawm). This religious Eid (Muslim religious festival) is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. he holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.
The festival has a particular salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two rakats (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. Muslims believe that they are commanded by God, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat al-Fitr before offering the Eid prayers.
The festival was of course originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
General rituals include: Eid prayer and eidgah – performed in congregation in open areas like fields, community centres, etc. or at mosque; Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one, two or three days. It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid. Also, a specific prayer is nominated for this day. As an obligatory act of charity, money is paid to the poor and the needy.
Eid gifts, known as Eidi, are frequently given at eid to children and immediate relatives
In Nigeria, which is a secular state, eid is popularly known as “Small Sallah” and people generally greet each other with the traditional greeting: “Barka Da Sallah”, which means “Greetings on Sallah” in the Hausa language. Muslims observe their Eid prayers at designated praying grounds before heading home to partake in festive meals, generally prepared by the women of the household. The Federal holiday typically lasts for three days in Nigeria.
Nigerian leaders and their messages:
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo: “As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, I wish a beautiful Eid-Al-Fitr to our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrating across Nigeria”
As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, I wish a beautiful Eid-Al-Fitr to our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrating across Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/4sfhcP1VyX
— Prof Yemi Osinbajo (@ProfOsinbajo) June 4, 2019
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan: “Eid Mubarak to the Muslim Ummah, may this season usher into our homes peace, love and joy. May Allah grant us our heart desires according to His eternal will. Happy Celebrations.
Eid Mubarak to the Muslim Ummah, may this season usher into our homes peace, love and joy. May Allah grant us our heart desires according to His eternal will. Happy Celebrations.
– GEJ pic.twitter.com/spXsMapUoZ
— Goodluck E. Jonathan (@GEJonathan) June 4, 2019
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar:
“As we celebrate the end of Ramadan, it is important that we understand that the Holy Month was meant to transform us by taking our attention from ourselves and focusing it on to others.
During Ramadan, we fasted that we might be better able to empathise with the hungry, the poor and the downtrodden. After the fast, we must face the grim reality that Nigeria is now the world headquarters for extreme poverty and the global capital for out of school children population.
We must also face the sober truth that our country faces a bleak harvest because farmers in our food basket regions cannot go to farms due to the spiralling insecurity in those geopolitical zones.
The piety that we have just built up, after a month of fasting, puts us in a unique position to make the personal and group sacrifices that will usher in JUSTICE, UNITY, PEACE and PROSPERITY back in our land, if we remember that Ramadan is a process, not an event.
A process that refines us to live, and be on our best behaviour for eleven months until the next Ramadan.
A process that prepares us to ensure JUSTICE in our communities for everyone, irrespective of their religion, region or inclination. We must not forget the millions of our brothers and sisters that have been displaced by terrorists, bandits and kidnappers. Theirs is a present suffering that can only be dealt with when we have justice in our land.
That is why the Quran says “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both”.
I especially commend this surah to the 29 newly sworn in governors and to those God has placed in leadership positions in the three arms of government at all levels. We must do justice here on earth, because we expect God to do justice to us when we meet with our Maker.
And it is on this basis that I greet all Nigerians and the global Ummah. At the beginning of this most important month, I wished you Ramadan Kareem. Now, I wish you “Eid Mubarak.”
May God bless you and your loved ones and may God bless Nigeria and bring peace back to this land. Amin.”
— Government of Nigeria (@AsoRock) June 4, 2019
Former Governor of the State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola: “May Allah accept all our Ibadah this Ramadan. Lessons on peaceful coexistence and virtuous living have been learnt, May Allah make it easy for us to follow it through. Eid Mubarak”
Happy Sallah pic.twitter.com/2nGsdkLmsf
— Senator Dino Melaye. (SDM) (@dino_melaye) June 4, 2019
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki: “I congratulate Muslim faithful across the nation and the world on our celebration of #EidElFitr — after the successful observance of the fasting period during the Holy Month of Ramadan. #EidMubarak. As we celebrate today, we must not relent in displaying the discipline, restraint and good neighbourliness that we observed during the fasting period. We also must not relent in our prayers for the unity of our nation and the peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians #EidMubarak”