By Haroon Balogun

The Chief Missioner of Nasrul-Lahi-l-Fatih, NASFAT, Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike has said that in spite of the gloomy and overwhelming security challenge bedevelling the nation, however long the night, the dawn will break.

Onike stated this in his message to Nigerians on the celebration of the new Hijrah Islamic calendar year 1444, urging Nigerians to take solace in the word of Maya Angelou that, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay”.

Read Also: Mutual trust, sincerity tonic for peaceful co-existence, says Onike of NASFAT

He said as Muslims, we are expected to be optimistic that all will be well. According to the Holy Qur’an, “ ..Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.(Q12:87)

He congratulated Muslims world-over, adding that witnessing a new year is an opportunity to retrace one’s steps from bad conducts and habits, and consolidating on good conducts and behaviours.

Quoting from the hadith: “It was narrated from Talhah bin ‘Ubaidullah that two men from Bali came to the Messenger of Allah (úý). They had become Muslim together, but one of them used to strive harder than the other. The one who used to strive harder went out to fight and was martyred. The other one stayed for a year longer, then he passed away. Talhah said: “I saw in a dream that I was at the gate of Paradise and I saw them (those two men).

“Someone came out of Paradise and admitted the one who had died last, then he came out and admitted the one who had been martyred. Then he came back to me and said: ‘Go back, for your time has not yet come.’” The next morning, Talhah told the people of that and they were amazed. News of that reached the Messenger of Allah (úý) and they told him the story. He said: “Why are you so amazed at that?” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, the first one was the one who strove harder, then he was martyred, but the other one was admitted to Paradise before him. The Messenger of Allah (úý) said: “Did he not stay behind for a year?” They said: “Yes.”

He said: “And did not Ramadan come and he fasted, and he offered such and such prayers during that year?” They said: “Yes.” The Messenger of Allah (úý) said: “The difference between them is greater than the difference between heaven and earth.”

(Ibn Mâjah, 3925)

“The narration shows that, the essence of having a long life is to busy oneself with activities that can make someone get the pleasures of Allah, and ultimately enter paradise, by God’s Grace.

“Muslims should therefore use the opportunity of the new year 1444 to be better in religious activities and nation building.

He prayed to Allah to return peace and tranquility to our dear nation, while urging the government to seek assistance from community leaders, civil society organisations, neighboring countries, and other countries for the revitalisation, refitting, retooling, intelligence gathering and effective prosecution of the war against terrorism and insecurity.

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