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Awards and service to humanity

What we really do at any point in time makes a whole lot of difference in the lives of others. When some people go far and above to impact positively in the lives of others, we recognise them with a sense of appreciation. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, “He who fails to appreciate people cannot appreciate Allah”. Sometimes, it does not require more than just a thank you to inspire and encourage others.

The recently held Vanguard Personality Awards showcased the amazing things winners of the awards did in the last 12 months to help humanity and ensure a better Nigeria.

The collaboration between Governors Akinwunmi Ambode and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Lagos and Kebbi states respectively in the production of LAKE Rice was deserving of honours.

If other governors had done the same, the much desired food sufficiency would have been achieved in no distant time. The nation would also have been a proud exporter of rice. That singular action has helped in giving a fresh breath to our ailing economy.

The legacy of infrastructure development by both Governors Willie Obiano and Prof Ben Ayade of Anambra and Cross River States respectively is also outstanding. They are shining examples of good leaders.

Godwin Emefiele who is swimming out of the troubled waters of the economy has shown the required disposition not only to remain afloat but also to deliver the sliding naira and the ailing economy. It is only during tough times that you know the stuff a man is made of. How he responds to hardline situation makes the difference. All these tell us that when a man sees adversity through the lens of opportunity, he turns things around and etch his name in the sand of time. Hear him: “Let me assure everyone that the CBN is acting in the best interests of ordinary Nigerians, regardless of the noise from the few entrenched interests whom our policies may be hurting. Let me also reiterate the Central Bank’s willingness, determination, and capacity to continue to meet all legitimate transaction-based FX demands in the market. I obviously cannot be of help to people or businesses who are into speculative FX demand. My promise instead to this group, whether foreign or local, is that the CBN will make sure they lose money!.”

The bold intervention of the CBN led by Emefiele has saved the naira and indirectly millions of Nigerians already suffocating under the 17.7 inflation occasioned mainly by the fall of the naira. The situation though not completely out but the intervention has given hope to businesses and real lifeline to the purchasing power of Nigerians.

In Islam, there is great emphasis on service to humanity. In many portions of the Qur‘an, Allah draws attention to all the magnificent creations as an indication for doing great things for the benefit of others. God relates in the Qur‘an how the heavens and the earth were created in seven days and describes that as a sign for humankind. Then the Qur‘an directs a message to humanity that they should contribute positively to the earth- that is, they should work to make use of what is created for their benefit- Service to humanity. The interesting thing about this is that whatever is done to the benefit of humanity is considered as an act of worship in itself. The concept of worship does not precludes service to people, in fact, it is an integral part of worship. To illustrate this better, Prophet Isa, who is called Jesus by the Christians (peace and blessings be upon him) once saw a man who had completely devoted himself to worship. When he asked him how he got his daily bread, the man replied that his brother, who worked, provided him with food. Jesus then told him, “That brother of yours is more religious than you are.” While emphasis is placed on the need for man to work for his daily bread, God also reserves great reward for those who remove the pains of others. “And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah for Allah sees well all that you do.” (Holy Qur’an 2:110)

No matter our position, in private business, public office, we must always work to advance the cause of humanity. Every good deed no matter how small, will help others. In Islam, even a smile to a neighbour or removing a harmful object from the road, is classified as an act of charity and worship. One of the provisions of hadith says: “A man passed by a fallen branch in the middle of the road and said, ‘By Allah, I will remove this from the path of the Muslims so that it does not inconvenience them’ and he was admitted into the Garden (Paradise).” (recorded in Muslim)

Even if your good deed is not recognised, it should be noted that our deeds are going to speak for us on Judgement Day. We will see all that we have ever done, whether good or bad with reward or punishment. The Prophet’s wife Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “O people, you should do whatever good deeds you can, for Allah does not get tired (of giving reward) until you get tired. And the most beloved of good deeds to Allah is that in which a person persists, even if it is little.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

For those who cause pain to others, steal and deplete our commonwealth, hide it in places they think no one knows, the Quran says: “This Our Record speaks about you with truth. Verily, We were recording what you used to do (i.e. Our angels used to record your deeds)” (Qur’an 45:29) “Read your book. You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against you this Day” (Qur’an 17:14) Our deeds are going to be weighed, good against bad. “And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We to take account” (Qur’an 21:47)


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