Saturday, September 10, 2016
SALAH MESSAGE: ECONOMIC RECESSION IS A TRIAL FOR BELIEVERS
11th September, 2016
ECONOMIC RECESSION IS A TRIAL FOR BELIEVERS
Nigerian Muslims will join their counterparts all over the world to mark this year’s Id al-Kabiir tomorrow Monday, 12th September, 2016.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) felicitates with the spiritual head of Muslims in the country, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). In the same vein, we congratulate all Nigerians for witnessing the occasion.
Though painful, we are constrained to remind Nigerians that they are the architects of their own fate. The current economic downturn did not come from the blues. It is self-imposed. We encouraged graft. We sacrificed excellence on the altar of mediocrity. We grandstood where we should be frank and sincere. Due to our strange culture of waste, we buried our parents and loved ones by throwing huge sums of money into the dustbin.
We awarded chieftaincy titles to rogues and fraudsters. We celebrated international thieves who jumped bail abroad. Parents hired mercenaries to impersonate their children and write examinations for them. We certified graduates who could not compose simple correct sentences. We bastardised and incapacitated the security agencies. We took religion to the height of extremism. Now it is payback time.
Although Allah promised that mankind would have enough to eat and drink as well as shelter and clothing in this world (Qur’an 20:118-119), greed, avarice, monumental corruption and other acts of man’s inhumanity to man took the center stage in Nigeria. The Qur’an gave the parable of a country like Nigeria which was secure, peaceful and prosperous but whose citizens and leaders abused the resources. Allah therefore made them taste hunger and fear (Qur’an 16:112).
This divine punishment notwithstanding, MURIC assures Nigerians that tough times never last but tough men do. We remind believing men and women of all faiths in the country that the current economic impasse is a form of trial. Allah promised in the Glorious Qur’an that He would try us with fear, hunger, poverty and even deaths but He assured those who patiently bear the travail of good news (Qur’an 2:155). Again Qur’an 31:17 urges man to exercise forbearance when faced with difficult times.
Interestingly, the same Qur’an went down history lane to remind us that we are not the first to be tried because many had been tried before us. It asked rhetorically, “Do you think you will not be tested just because you are believers? We have tried many before you!” (29:2-3).
If doubting Thomases fail to believe the travails of Prophet Ibraheem who was thrown in a fire, Yusuf who was thrown inside a well, Ayub who was afflicted with a strange disease, etc (peace be upon them all) are we not all living witnesses of the travails of other nations of the world who survived economic strangulation by dint of determination and attitudinal change?
In the 19th century, Denmark experienced state bankruptcy in 1813. There was recession in the United States in 1873 characterised by bank failures. Britain had its own share of recession in 1825, France in 1815. They all survived. In the 20th century the US had the Wall Street crash of 1929 followed by the Great Depression (1929-1939). Equally noteworthy are the 1998 Russia financial crisis, the Argentine economic crisis of 1999 – 2002 and the 1994 Mexico economic crisis. Most recently, the Greek government ran into a debt crisis. Russia also suffered financial crisis in 2014 while the Chinese stock market crashed in 2015.
The above examples show that nearly all countries of the world have had their tough times. But the good news is that they all overcame their woes. Nigeria too will survive. Recession is not new. It is not a death sentence. What Nigerians should not allow to happen is spiritual recession. We must strengthen our hope in Allah and adopt attitudinal change. Our resolution must be ora et labora, i.e. work and pray.
Our mosques must distance themselves from Muslim politicians who have the noun ‘thief’ while our churches must disown Christians who possess the verb ‘to steal’. Poverty knows no religion, no tribe. Those who steal public funds deprive the rest of access to what should go round. Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and other tribes must stop empathizing with the kleptomaniacs among their kith and kin. A thief is a thief. He has no other nomenclature.
On a final note, MURIC asserts that the change Nigerians are expecting will only come about if Nigerians have the political will. We must remember that Allah said He would not change the condition of a people until they themselves change their attitudes (Qur’an13:11).
We have offered the material sacrifice by spending money to buy sacrificial rams. That sacrifice is for Allah. But are we ready to sacrifice for our beloved country, Nigeria? We must be ready for the moral sacrifice by being patient with the government, by self-denial and by forbearance.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)