Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), an Islamic human rights organization, has urged Muslims in Nigeria to make every effort to ensure that the Nigerian project succeeds as Ramadan 2024 draws near.

The organization urged Muslims living in the nation to contribute to its development and to abstain from any form of economic sabotage.

This appeal was made in a pre-Ramadan message sent out by Professor Ishaq Akintola, the organization’s executive director, on Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

The statement read, “Although only the spiritually inclined are fully aware of it’s closeness, Ramadan 2024 is now creeping up like an underwater swimmer. Its full manifestation on the surface is expected about five weeks from now.

“Coming at a time when Nigeria’s economy is at its lowest ebb, with the naira in free fall and prices skyrocketing, 2024 Ramadan poses a potent challenge which the Muslims have no other choice than to grapple with. Yet it is a good opportunity for the Muslims to use the period to bring the nation’s ship which is in turbulent water to calm currents.

“This is exactly what is expected of good Muslims as Ramadan approaches and when it fully materializes. Good Muslims have no other choice. They cannot and should not join spoilers. They cannot and should not join violent demonstrators.

“The Tinubu-Shettima administration was put in place by a majority Muslim votes on 25th February, 2024. Therefore Muslims cannot and should not be the ones that will bring it down. Neither should they be among those who would sabotage the economy. This good Muslim majority can build a good Nigeria. Nay, it should be at the forefront of the mission to rebuild Nigeria.

“A good majority Muslim population should translate into a good Nigerian people. That is why the Glorious Qur’an says, ‘Cooperate in the doing of goodness and piety, and do not cooperate to perpetrate evil and aggression’ (Qur’an 5:2). This is what Islam instructs Muslims to do. They must build their country. They must not be part of those who want to pull it down.

“It is our firm belief that good Muslims can re-engineer the fabrics of this nation to produce a good Nigeria. We are convinced that Allah has already provided all the ingredients of greatness for our dear country. That was why He told Adam (peace be upon him), ‘There is enough for you in the land such that you will not suffer from hunger or nakedness. Neither will you suffer from thirst or the heat of the sun’ (Glorious Qur’an 20:118–119).

“Our problem has always been the modalities for harnessing those ingredients. What do we lack in Nigeria? We are robustly blessed with human and material resources. Complacency is our major problem. The people to do it are there. The tools are there. But so far we have failed to use what we have to get what we need.

“As 2024 Ramadan approaches, Nigerian Muslims must ponder over the instruction to ‘work’ which Allah told Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to tell Muslims, ‘Work, and Allah, His prophet and the believers will see your work’ (Glorious Qur’an 9:105).

“Allah did not tell us to sit down at home and expect manna from heaven. He told us to ‘work’ on the farmland if we want to eat. He told us to ‘work’ in the factories if we want technological breakthrough. He told us to ‘work’ by digging the earth if we want to discover hidden minerals. The keyword here is ‘work’.

“He also taught us to use the tools and ingredients which He gave us and never to allow them to be redundant. That was why He told Musa (peace be upon him) to ‘throw it’, i.e. to throw the staff in his hand when he faced the magicians of Fir’aon (Glorious Qur’an 20:19).

“Nigerian Muslims must ‘throw it’. Throw (use) the cutlasses, hoes, shovels, etc in their hands. Allah has provided us with a massive fertile and arable land. For crying out loud, this country has a total area of 923,768 square kilometers (356,669 square miles) thus making it the world’s 32nd largest country.

“Nigeria cannot lack manpower with a population of approximately 220 million people. Why then should we incur an annual food import bill of five billion dollars? Why? It is outrageous. Good Nigerian Muslims must produce food for Nigerians. Good Nigerian Muslims must make Nigeria great again.

“The woes of our naira require revolutionary actions. MURIC charges good Nigerian Muslims to buy made in Nigeria goods and patronize local service providers.

“We have received requests from Muslims who want MURIC to plead with the Federal Government (FG) concerning the cost of 2024 hajj. But we are going to disappoint those who made the plea. We must be realistic. This is not the time to start making frivolous requests, particularly anything that will put additional pressure on the naira.

“We all know the rules and we know the state of the economy around the world. Hajj is the last of the five pillars of Islam and it is not compulsory if one does not have the means. What we should do if the price is too high this year is to wait for another year while we look for more money, if we can. Ceteris paribus, the naira will be stronger next year.

“Seeing the naira in such comatose condition, MURIC cannot, in good conscience, ask FG to worsen the country’s foreign exchange imbroglio by sourcing for more dollars for the hajj operation. No responsible government will do that and we will not ridicule Islam and the Ummah by making such a laughable request. The situation demands a pragmatic approach. MURIC actually suggested some years ago that FG should steer clear of hajj. Nigerian Muslims can handle it.

“Nigeria will be good if the Muslims who form majority of the population are good. Peer influence will do the rest. This is the challenge facing Muslims in 2024 Ramadan. We have a chance to turn things around. It is our hope that Christian leaders will also persuade their followers to join hands with us in the onerous task of building this country. Good Muslims with Good Christians will make Nigeria a great nation.”