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9 Ways Ramadan is Celebrated in Nigeria

From getting foodstuffs in preparation for the fasting in Ramadan to catering for the needy, from tahajjud to tafsir sessions through to the International Quds Day and preparation for the Eid al-Fitr, there’s no gainsaying that this month ushers a moment of reflection not only on the spiritual life of Nigerians but their social life as well. 

From getting foodstuffs in preparation for the fasting in Ramadan to catering for the needy, from tahajjud to tafsir sessions through to the International Quds Day and preparation for the Eid al-Fitr, there’s no gainsaying that this month ushers a moment of reflection not only on the spiritual life of Nigerians but their social life as well. 

As one of the holiest months in the Islamic Calendar, Ramadan is uniquely marked in Nigeria by some special activities. From Sha’aban to the Holy month, Muslims in the African country join their counterparts in other countries to mark the fasting and also engage in these nine special activities. 

1. Buying foodstuffs

The moment Ramadan sets in with the sighting of the moon and its announcement by relevant authorities, Muslims from different parts of the country go to the market to stock their homes. No family wants to be left out or run out of food throughout the holy month. The shopping is with the intention of having a hitch-free Ramadan.

From staple food products to other daily provision needs, families devoid of their social status try as much to get some groceries. 

2. Cater for the needy

In Ramadan, financially deficient Muslims, orphans, and widows find succor with the humanitarian gesture of their fellow brothers and sisters of providing food and money. As the month has become a time when well-to-do Muslims give out Zakat, needy Muslim families don’t complain much as food has been put on their tables.

In some situations, gifts items including clothes and materials for Eid are given out as charity to these families. 

3. Sending goodwill messages

Another unique way Ramadan is marked by the country’s Muslim population is through sharing goodwill messages among family, friends, and well-wishers through SMS and social media platforms. These messages contain prayers, Qur’anic verses, and prophetic traditions that extolled the virtues of the month of Ramadan. 

4. Changing meals

Meals and their timetable suddenly change for Ramadan as well. The usual foods are changed with varieties of delicacies that are more nutritious, to help with the long fasting hours for many Muslims across Nigeria. 

5. Observing Iftar in group

The time of breaking the fast, also known as Iftar, is a time observed by many families in a group setting. Some families invite friends and business associates to observe Iftar together. In recent times, Muslim and Christian clerics are using the period to foster peace, harmony, understanding, and sustain interfaith dialogue in the country.

For instance, a Christian cleric in Northern Nigeria, Pastor Yohanna Buru, through his non-governmental organization Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria, is using the Iftar period to visit Muslim scholars and dine together, a development that is going a long way in bringing the Muslim and Christian communities together. 

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6. Tahajjud and Tarawih

Muslims who believe in the twelve-unit prayers immediately after Magrib and Isha prayers in Ramadan, say it for the 29 or 30 days of the month. Moreover, Muslims devoid of their denomination in Nigeria observe the tahajjud prayers. Though some believe that tahajjud should be done throughout the year, some Muslims especially of the Sunni denomination encourage it in the last ten days of the holy month. 

7. Tafsir sessions

One phenomenon that is attached to Ramadan in Nigeria is the class of Qur’anic exegesis known as the Tafsir, where a learned religious teacher sits down with a number of disciples and interprets the holy book to them. These sessions are later aired on radio and television.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, last year a new trend of airing the tafsir on popular social media sites like Facebook, Zoom, and YouTube emerged. Since the law of controlling social gathering as the result of the pandemic is still in force in some Nigerian states, this year too, some clerics might rely on the traditional and conventional media to reach out to their followers. 

8. International Quds Day

For more than two decades, the International Quds Day that is marked globally in solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine has become a part of the month of Ramadan in Nigeria.

On every last Friday of Ramadan, Muslims in Nigeria lead people with conscience to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In these protests that are marked in more than 22 Nigerian cities, anti-Israeli slogans and placards with various inscriptions condemning the continued persecution of Palestinians are displayed and people of all backgrounds gather to show support for the Palestinian cause. 

9. Eid preparation

The Eid al-Fitr celebration marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal. Like all Muslims around the world, the period is used to celebrate witnessing a successful Ramadan in Nigeria. The eve of this day falls in the holy month of Ramadan but Muslims in all parts of the country prepare by getting food products and condiments that will give out a sumptuous meal as part of the festival. 

Looking at the aforementioned, it will be deduced that the holy month of Ramadan is significant and holds an important status among Nigeria’s Muslims, which make more than half of the population of the sub-Saharan African nation.

From getting foodstuffs in preparation for the fasting in Ramadan to catering for the needy, from tahajjud to tafsir sessions through to the International Quds Day and preparation for the Eid al-Fitr, there’s no gainsaying that this month ushers a moment of reflection not only on the spiritual life of Nigerians but their social life as well. 

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