Muslims throughout the country and around the world last weekend began their holy month of Ramadan by gathering in their homes and mosques to fast and pray.
The month is sacred because, according to tradition, that is the month in which the Prophet Mohammed received the revelation from Allah and founded the world’s third great religion, Islam, established in the name of Father Abraham.
The first is Judaism, the religion of the Jews, started by Abraham, known as “a man after God’s own heart,” and enhanced by his son Isaac and grandson Jacob, father of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The second Abrahamic religion is Christianity, founded over 2,000 years ago by God’s Son Jesus and proclaimed throughout the ages by His disciples, Peter, Paul, the four Gospel writers, the Popes of Rome and all the other Cardinals, bishops, priests and evangelists throughout the world.
Islam is the third Abrahamic religion, founded by the Prophet Mohammed in 522 A.D. The main language of Islam is Arabic, the language of the Arab people who, according to Webster’s dictionary, were founded by Father Abraham through his son Ishmael.
All of these three religions recognize Abraham as their father and forebear.
Christians, too, observe a month of fast and prayer. It is called Lent, during which Christians recommit themselves to God through penance, repentance prayer and fasting, culminating in the celebration of Easter.
It must be said, however, that Muslims take their month of Ramadan far more seriously than many Christians take Lent. Most devout Muslims strictly observe fast and prayer throughout the month and flock to the mosques every day, where they prostrate before Allah in humble supplication. They break their fast each day at sundown, read the Holy Koran and share with the less fortunate.
Muslims and the rest of us Liberians have a lot to pray about this Ramadan Season and in the months ahead. The first thing we need to pray for is the continuation of peace in Liberia. We have all, not just the government and its officials, through our sins and other misdeeds, done much to threaten seriously the peace in our country.
The issue of corruption in government is one of the primary threats to peace. In a country where most of the people live in abject poverty, one can see the restrained (somewhat controlled) anger and hopelessness on the faces of healthy, grown men and women selling Chiclets, cotton buds and other insignificant items, when they should be on the farm, or in academic or trade school learning something to lead more productive lives.
The government’s mishandling of the land issue in Fendall and the many large and small concrete buildings that have been indiscriminately destroyed, is cause for alarm. So many serious investments have been suddenly lost!
Admittedly, of course, did people who built in the area know that Fendall was land reserved by government to expand the nation’s highest institution of learning, the University of Liberia (UL)? The people of Fendall and others who sold the land—and the buyers, too—must have known that they were taking risks.
But the whole thing is cause for trouble.
There is yet the ongoing trial of top officials in the Legislative and Executive branches of government over the Global Witness (GW) allegations of bribery and corruption. According to GW, they attempted to stealthily give away to UK-based Sable Mining Lofa County’s iron ore-rich Wologozi Mountain and other valuable national assets. The case has already aroused great public anger and resentment. Liberians perceive this as yet another attempt by government officials, through their continued corruption and greed, to perpetuate the people’s poverty, by ensuring that the rich always get richer and the poor, poorer.
This perception could lead to trouble.
That is the main reason we submit that during this Ramadan and throughout the rest of this year and next, our Muslim brothers and sisters, indeed ALL Liberians, should remember in their prayers the forthcoming presidential and general elections.
Let us work and pray so as to ensure that the ensuing elections will produce good leaders who will have the interest of the people at heart and strive hardest to lift them, at long last, out of poverty and turn Liberia into a land of development, prosperity and happiness.