SHAFAQNA – In the Name of the Most High. Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May Allah’s Peace and Benediction be upon the Noble Prophet and Messenger Muhammad, his progeny, the exceptional ones among his companions and those who follow them sincerely till the Day of Reckoning.
In this Holy Month of Ramadan, we extend warm wishes to Ghanaians and urge the Muslim fraternity to reflect on the physical and spiritual blessings of the Holy Month. The Month of Ramadan is a special period for Muslims around the Globe. It is a period of reflection, closeness, peace, love, hope that permits us to focus on the message contained in the Holy Qur`an and the sublime Tradition of Prophet Muhammad and his house hold.
The message of love, peace and reflection must resonate to us in our current world and circumstances. The dream of love, peace, and hope on earth can be seen very distant; the Muslim world in particular has witnessed violence and sufferings in the like Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya etc open-armed Conflict continue to displace people, force women and children to flee from one Continent to the other in search for peace. The activities of Forces flushed with cash and armed to the teeth always seek to exploit divisions from the local, regional and continental level, by creating dissension, spreading venoms of blasphemy, sectarianism and bloodshed in order to attain their inordinate ambitions. These have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and lose of billions of dollars.
The Republic of Ghana, is by far one of the peaceful environments in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an appreciable level of cooperation, peace, love and tolerance between and among the inter and intra religious groups. It is on this basis that we admonish all and sundry to keep on striving within the framework of their capacity to consolidate the peace, unity, tolerance, friendly relations existing between and among Muslims, Christians and members of other religious denominations in the country.
As we join the Islamic fraternity around world to observe the fasting month, the sublime Message of the Islamic Scripture resounds:
“O you who believe, prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those before you, in order that you may attain nearness to Allah” Holy Qur`an 2: 183
The spiritual and physical purpose of the fasting month is for the individual and society to attain God-consciousness which cannot be done without the purification of the body and soul. Therefore, the abstinence from food and drinks; challenges of weakness and exhaustion, intense prayer, contemplation, self-discipline, remembrance of Allah, good deeds and charity to the poor and the needy serve as an opportunity towards the attainment of God-consciousness as stated in the Scripture.
Therefore, the Holy Month of Ramadan impacts a lot in transforming the soul and personality of the individual Muslim. This personal transformation is expected to positively affect the society in general. It is by this Divine imperative, that we call on the youth to earnestly close their ranks, gather around the real teachings of the Holy prophet Muhammad (s) and his house hold (as), pursue knowledge, embrace tolerance, use this sacred month as a chance to reform and refrain from all acts injurious to Islam, one`s self and fellow humans so as to help build a virtuous, peaceful and progressive Ghanaian Muslim society.
We strongly support Government`s effort in its fight against the menace of illegal small-scale mining that has bedeviled the country. The activities of Galamsey have destroyed many of the water bodies and forest lands. Illegal mining does not only threaten the livelihood of legal mining operations, it also retards the economic potential of the environment, compromises the safety of individuals and communities. For instance, open pits often abandoned by Galamseyers serve as death traps giving rise to perpetual financial liability for the country. Clean water and air are one of necessities of the human environment. Thus to sanitize mining in the country, we urge government to exert all efforts by reclaiming the abandoned and destroyed lands and restore the polluted water bodies.
This aspect of illegal small-scale mining is abhorred in the Holy Qur`an, for any activity that has the potential to mar the serenity of the human environment is highly detested in Islam as the Holy Qur`an unequivocally states “…..do not deprive people of their due and cause not disorder upon the earth after its reformation, that is better for you, if you are truly believers” Qur`an 7:85. It presupposes that the Human environment has been tilled and established for the human being to duel therein and secure it for generations yet unborn to also inherit in peace and serenity.
Thus to ensure that sanity is established, traditional leaders, security agencies and other stake-holders need to complement government`s efforts in order to curb the menace and mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of indiscriminate mining operations in the country.
Whilst congratulating the newly appointed Hajj Board who will manage the conduct of Hajj for the year, we also commend the past government on the success of last year’s Hajj. We urge the current Hajj Board to improve upon the care and attention attached to the services of Hajj in order to allow pilgrims to perform their rituals with ease and comfort. We are however, still optimistic that government will strive to commit Hajj services, into the full control and supervision of Muslims so as to further consolidate the Islamic agenda.
I express my best wishes to all adherents of other religious denominations in the country for good health and prosperity. Throughout this sacred month, I wish the government, Muslim leaders, academicians, policy makers, civil society and international institutions Ramadan Kareem.
Office of Shia National Imam-Ghana