On Friday, 8 July 2022 Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo had the honour to grant an interview to MLC TV Channel and Kogi Confluence Radio (95.5FM) news reporter at the Mission Office, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Mosque, Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria. The gist of the brief talk, which lasted for about 5 minutes, is captured below for the reading audience.
Newsman: Good morning.
Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo: Good morning.
Newsman: Please, kindly tell us your name and what you do.
Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo: My name is Yunus Omotayo. I’m the Imam and Missionary of the Lokoja Circuit of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria. As a journalist of the Jama’at, I’m a correspondent to it’s The Truth Newspaper and head of the News and Editorial Department of its Voice of Islam (VOI) online Radio. I’m also the current National Chairman of the Muslim Writers Guild of Nigeria and the publisher of The Global Outreach website. I think that should suffice for now.
Newsman: Sir, why is Eid-ul-Adha so important to Muslim Faithful?
Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo: Yea, firstly, we have to take cognizance of the fact that Eid-ul-Adha means Festival of Sacrifice which holds annually on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic Hijrah calendar. It commemorates the sacrifice, the obedience and faithfulness of the Prophet Ibrahim (as), the patience of his son, the Prophet Ismail (as) and even the fortitude displayed by the son’s mother, Hagar.
As to the question of why is it significant to the Muslim faithful, the answer is that Allah, Himself, commanded the Muslim faithful to emulate everything Abrahamic: his religion, his way of life, his sacrifice, obedience and righteousness, and so on. This commandment appears in several places in the Holy Quran. However, let me just quote one of such verses. In Chapter 16 verses 121 to 124 Allah declares that: (quoting the Arabic text……)
“Verily, Abraham was a nation unto himself, a builder and leader of a nation, always obedient to Allah and ever inclined to Him and certainly not belonging to the idolaters. Ever grateful for His favours; He chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We bestowed on him good in this world, and in the Hereafter, he will surely be among the righteous. And now We have revealed to you, saying, ‘Follow the way of Abraham who was ever inclined to God and was not of those who set up equals to Him.”
So, in these verses, Allah has commanded Muslims to emulate Abrahamic moral and spiritual virtues, and this grand sacrifice epitomized the heights of his morality, spirituality and Godliness for the Muslim faithful. To attain such heights, Eid-ul-Adha resonates the need for every Muslim to slaughter his or her ego or, in the usage of the Quran, the ‘evil-inciting self’ in order to realize the rebirth of the ‘soul at peace’ with its Lord.
Newsman: How can the significance of Eid El Adha be applied in our today’s life, especially at a moment like this that Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges of insecurity, corruption and other societal issues sir?
Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo: Absolutely, Eid-ul-Adha has great significance and lessons that address the challenges confronting Nigeria as a country. There is no doubt that we are in a critical time. Nigeria is ranked 6th on the 2022 global terrorism index and has just dropped 5 places to rank 154th on the global corruption index. Although, it is no longer the poverty capital of the world, having dropped to the second position with India now occupying the first place, but it still has over 70 million people living in extreme poverty. More so, it is being bedeviled by the issues of insecurity characterized by the various acts of terrorism and banditry and the incessant cases of kidnapping for rituals and ransom and the heinous killings taking place across the country.
In the face of all these challenges, there is no doubt that it is high time we translated the lessons from Eid-ul-Adha into affirmative action in order to turn things around positively for this country. As the Prophet Ibrahim (as) was obedient and submissive to the law and commands of God, Nigerians, too, must abide by not only the law and commandments of God, but also the constitution and law of the land. We must abide by the dictates of the rule of law and stop taking the law into our hands. Like the grand Abrahamic sacrifice, we must sacrifice injustice for justice to prevail in this country. Everyone needs to sacrifice unrighteousness for righteousness and selfishness for selflessness and service to humanity in order to realize national development, progress, and peace.
More so, as Eid-ul-Adha resonates the virtue of sharing, through the sharing of the sacrificial animals with neighbours, friends, and acquaintances, we must imbibe the virtue of sharing love, affection, compassion, peace, respect, and understanding with each other, irrespective of the religious and ethnic backgrounds. We must sacrifice inhumanity for humanity and cooperate for promoting the common good and activate our collective sense of community and national development.
Newsman: Thanks for your time, sir.
Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo: It’s a pleasure.