Book Review: Understanding the lessons of ramadan

A review of Professor Sabit Ariyo Olagoke’s book, Ramadan: The Great Teacher by Olusakin Babalola.


Ramadan, The Great Teacher, in its face value, looks like a book exclusively for Muslims. However, in-depth study of the book reveals that it takes care of the interest of all faith. Even atheists who read it will accept the supremacy of God Almighty, whose messengers stressed beyond reasonable doubt the essence of fasting in human lives. The 16-chapter book examines many interesting topics like, How Islam Entered Nigeria, Who Is a Godly Person, Religion and Politics:  The Inseparability Factor.

Chapters that dwelled essentially on the Islamic faith are: Ramadan, the Chief Lecturer, Rajab and Dhul Hijaah: The Link, The Mosque: The Users and Societal Development, The Role of Arabic Language in the Society, Ramadhan Blessing: Potentials Yet to be Tapped, among others.

Unlike William Shakespeare who authored so many dramatic and poetic works, Olagoke uses prose to convey his message to his readers who cut across all strata of the society. He has authored so many books apart from those rooted in his faith. Olagoke, who is currently a Chief Lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, is also a member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering Practice in Nigeria (COREN).

The author starts by tracing Islam in the North and the South West, while using the management of Islam in Ibadanland as an interesting case study.

On pages 75 to 77, the book focuses on Ramadan: The Month of Knowledge and Mercy, as the author remarks: Allow Ramadan fasting exercises to achieve a desired aim for you and your society, allow your sensory organs to be functional, alert, sensitive and active. Ensure functional system is enhanced. Live a life of mentorship and charity, exemplary enough for others to follow.

Professor Olagoke points out that one of the objectives of fasting is to correct people’s behaviours or attitudes, particularly in the spiritual realm.

Like Christians and believers of other faiths who also dwell on fasting and prayer as tools against all life challenges, the author says on page 80, “we can only overcome problems, obstacles, barriers or have victory or success over issues through sincere fasting exercise, attitudinal change and prayer.

Ramadan is, therefore, designed to correct, teach and promote adherents as problem-solving to establish and justify its period as the month of knowledge and mercy.

He puts many case studies for readers on which to brainstorm. He also does not overlook the fact that religion and politics are like siamese twins. On page 169, he writes: religion is about life; politics is about survival, hence the inseparability. Religion is inalienable to mankind. We cannot separate politics from religion that provides an environment for divine intervention.

In “Theo-Democracy: A New Political Concept,” the author points out that the alignment between religion, man and politics is the solution to the impending peril of mankind due to his frivolity and waywardness.

Professor Olagoke, who has his first degree in Chemical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, makes use of equations in analytically discussing democracy and the two environments of secularity and divinity.  In his words, religion and education must produce the ethical guide for functional democracy.

Democracy, on the other hand, is justice plus equity in an environment of secularity; this is, therefore, ethically- guiding for the leaders in democracy to embrace peace, development and security.

The book explains everything one needs to know about fasting, particularly in the holy month of ramadan, as well as the lessons to learn therein.

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