THE Amir (head) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria, Dr Mashuud Fasola, has urged the Federal Government to invest more in agriculture and rural development as a catalyst to solving the economic problems facing the country.
Dr Fasola, a development economist, in an Eid-el-Fitr message from the Ahmadiyya Muslim group, submitted that if agricultural and rural development were promoted, there would be abundant food production as well as job creation.
He expressed regret that despite the abundant arable land, thousands of Nigerian youths prefer to seek livelihood abroad albeit through illegal means.
“These days, thousands of young men and women from Nigeria and many other Muslim-dominated countries are fleeing their countries to escape poverty, joblessness, insecurity and civil war, seeking survival in rich countries. Many of them perish on the way while others end up virtually in servitude, being treated like animals,” he lamented.
He charged religious organisations to take active interest in banishing hunger among their indigent members and promote their well-being rather than concentrate only on doctrines, rituals and ceremonies.
He advised them to embark on empowerment programmes on agricultural production and small-scale enterprises, as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at had done in the areas of cassava production for flour, mass plantation of banana in Ikirun and skills acquisition scheme for women in Ilaro.
“These initiatives are quite apt as it will be tough or impossible to address insecurity, criminality, drug addiction, immorality, domestic violence and youth suicide, without addressing joblessness, hunger, apathy and indifference of well-to-do members of the society to the suffering of the underprivileged members,” Fasola noted.
The cleric, who noted that fasting in the month of Ramadan is intended to celebrate the revelation of the Holy Qur’an to mankind, urged every Muslim to reflect on the lessons of the holy month.
“During the fasting period, we are able to concentrate on studying and reflecting on the contents of the Holy Qur’an. Allah the Gracious draws our attention in Chapter 20 verses 1 to 7 that the revelation of the Holy Qur’an was not intended to be a source of distress or hardship, but caution on the grave dangers that may confront mankind individually and collectively.
“Allah who sent down the Holy Qur’an is in the best position to guide mankind for He is the Creator of the earth and the heavens, and all things in heaven, in the earth, in-between and underneath belong to Him. So, if it is the world we seek, He is in the best position to guide us towards it, and if it is heaven we seek, He is in the best position to guide us to its realisation. Similarly, in Chapter 2, verse 186, Allah declares that He desires ease and not hardship for mankind through the prescription of fasting.
“Allah draws our attention to the major commandments that will bring well-being and peace and not hardship and chaos. Allah is in the best position to guide man because He is the Creator and Owner of the heavens and the earth, and what is between the two and what is beneath the earth, and He is the Gracious, the All-knowing, the Wise, and Almighty,” he added.