By Nurudeen Akinreti
“These days, thousands of young men and women from Nigeria and many other Muslim – dominated countries are fleeing their countries to escape poverty, joblessness, insecurity and communal or civil war, and seek survival in rich countries. Many of them perish on the way while many others virtually engage in slavery and servitude. This is due to the gross negligence on the part of the government (especially), relations, religious organizations and their leaders.”
The Amir (National Head) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Nigeria Dr. Mashhud Adenrele Fashola made the assertion in his 2019 Eidul Fitr Message made available to The Truth newspaper. Enumerating the numerous blessings and lessons accrued from this year’s Ramadhan Fasting, the Amir said one of the major teachings of the period is the feeding of the poor which is very dear to God Almighty.
“Allah commands that no one should hunger in the land. Now if we ensure that every citizen has access to adequate food and nutrition, it will go a long way to ensuring orderliness and security to life and property,” Dr. Fashola said.
According to him, the only way to eliminate hunger in the land is to promote agriculture, especially food production as well as job creation that will make every citizen have enough income to buy food.
He thus advised government at all levels to eradicate hunger by channelling part of national resources towards agricultural and rural development as opposed to urban-based development policies. “With such a policy they will simultaneously create jobs and promote agricultural development. Nature has endowed the nation with abundant human and natural resources for achieving this purpose.”
Dr. Fashola said that these obligations should not be left alone with the government, that near relations, as well as individuals and groups, also have a major role to play in taking care of their brothers and sisters, especially the orphans and indigent members of the extended family. He stated that the rich among the relations should find the solution to poverty alleviation of their kindred.
The Amir added that religious organizations and their leaders should also play significant roles in addressing the hunger of their members, rather than pre-occupying themselves with religious indoctrination and wasteful rituals and ceremonies. He said they can empower their members in agriculture and various small scale enterprises.
Addressing Societal Vices
Amir stated: “It will be tough or impossible to address insecurity, criminality, drug addiction, immorality, domestic violence and youth suicide, without addressing joblessness, hunger, apathy and indifference of well-to-do members of the society to the suffering of the less privileged and indigent members. This is the major lesson of the Ramadhan Fasting for the society. Ramadhan demands that we all experience hunger and if we find it difficult to endure hunger, then we should feed the poor for as long as we cannot endure.”
Dr. Fashola further enjoined Muslims worldwide to learn from another major lesson of Ramadhan which are self-purification and piety in a bid to attain nearness to Allah to the point that one’s prayers are heard and one benefits from perfect guidance towards salvation, success and blissful life here and hereafter.
Amir said: ” There is no terrible condition in life for anyone to justify sinful and criminal life. Joblessness, deprivation, oppression and impoverishment are not an acceptable excuse for stealing, armed robbery, kidnapping, fraudulent practices, drug abuse, and generally sinful life. Those who die in such a sinful life will end up in hell. But those who migrate to seek better and law abiding livelihood or for greener pastures are on the right path provided that they were oppressed, impoverished, hopeless and helpless. All prophets of God were also migrants when they faced persecution and deprivation and other difficulties in their home towns and countries. The examples of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be on all of them) are well known.”